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When everything goes wrong on a slippery national roadway

Many of our New York readers might be interested to note the details of the below-described accident because, although it didn't happen in the state, it certainly could have.

Any chain-collision motor vehicle accident precipitated by dangerous wintry conditions that involves scores of cars and trucks and also, sadly, yields a death and many injuries, is of instant relevance in cold-weather states like New York.

What happened last Friday morning on a portion of Interstate 94 in Michigan is a cautionary tale for drivers everywhere who must toil with the capricious and rapidly changing weather conditions that centrally play out during the winter driving season.

As is so often the case, the accident in Michigan started with a rear-end swipe of one vehicle that couldn't timely stop on a slippery highway surface in whiteout conditions.

By the time the chain accident was over and its material details ascertained, it was clear that nearly 200 vehicles were involved in what one media report termed "a massive traffic pileup."

And not just massive: In addition to the sheer number of dented and otherwise damaged vehicles involved in the domino-type wreck, a roadway spill of hazardous chemicals and a massive explosion from one truck containing fireworks also marked the scene.

Although such an accident is indeed outsized in its scope and repercussions, it is far from being a singular rarity. In fact, chain-collision crashes are commonly reported in various areas of the United States each winter and often involve a similar fact pattern.

That is this: Too many drivers in a select roadway area marked by dangerous driving conditions are simply driving too fast to respond timely to a sudden emergency.

That could be black ice. It could be deer. It could be driving sleet or myriad other precipitating factors.

In winter, driving error is often compounded by such things. When one driver errs, many other motorists in trailing vehicles compound that mistake.

Take it easy out there. We wish all our readers a happy and safe 2015.

Source: CNN, "Massive chain-reaction accident closes I-94 in Michigan," Andreas Preuss, Jan. 10, 2014

 

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