Personal injury and even death can happen any time two vehicles collide. The severity of injury rises sharply with each additional car added to a crash scene. While few crashes can match the 2002 disaster in Los Angeles that involved 216 cars, an accident involving only a handful of cars and trucks can create a devastating situation. Motorists can often avoid multi-car crashes by keeping a sharp eye on their driving environment and respecting the power of Mother Nature when weather conditions are poor.
Driving To Avoid “Chain-Reaction” Situations
It’s often said in sports that “the best offense is a good defense,” and nowhere is this more true than when you’re driving in heavy traffic. Consumer Reports recommends always keeping a “buffer” of free space around your vehicle. The buffer in front and behind you should be between three seconds in good driving conditions and as much as 10 seconds in bad conditions. Take note of what kind of vehicles are near you, especially 18-wheelers that can jackknife or side-swipe you if forced to stop suddenly. Don’t take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road – distracted driving can be deadly when you have to keep track of multiple vehicles close to you.
If other cars are making it difficult to drive safely in heavy traffic, consider exiting carefully and planning an alternate route. Arriving later or driving longer beats the aftermath of a multi-car wreck.
Arrive Alive During Bad Weather
Although some multi-car collisions take place during good weather, many do not. A 2018 study analyzing data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in a review of 100 collisions, more than half of them took place during poor driving conditions.
Some of the most common bad weather conditions that lead to chain-reaction wrecks are snowstorms, heavy fog, dust or sandstorms, and heavy rain. The study using NHTSA data found multi-car pileups often occurred immediately after a sharp decrease in visibility. Visibility often gets worse after sunset. Given this information, plan travel during snow, fog or rain carefully. Know places on your route where it is safe to pull over and wait until driving conditions improve.
Recovering From A Multi-Car Crash Requires Legal Support
Even if you follow all the tips in this post, you may not be able to avoid a multi-car collision. The insurance company will not be on your side after such a wreck, especially if you need medical care. An experienced personal injury attorney can be a game-changer after a complex chain-reaction accident, whether it happens on the highway or a surface street. The attorney can review evidence from the crash site, consult with accident reconstruction experts, and comb through police reports on your behalf. They can demonstrate that you did everything you could to avoid the wreck and argue that you deserve the maximum compensation available to recover your health and catch up on bills, as well as provide for your family.