1 Dead, 30+ People Injured After Pile-Up on Interstate 80

On December 18, a massive, multi-vehicle pile-up occurred on Interstate 80 in Union County, Pennsylvania. The accident led to one death and 37 people being taken to a local hospital. The accident happened around 1:30 PM and drivers told local media that the accident was most likely a result of low visibility caused by snow squalls in the area. Vehicles traveling in both directions on the highway were involved in the crash.

The accident was devastating – involving at least 20 vehicles, reported WNEP. Evangelical Hospital reported that out of the 37 patients received, three patients were transferred to high care levels. The rest were provided temporary shelter before being able to return home.

While local rescue units worked on extracting injured people from vehicles, Interstate 80 was closed between the Williamsport exit (212) and the Lock Haven exit (178).

Other drivers not involved in the accident reported dangerous driving conditions in the area around the time of the accident, according to WNEP.

How to Stay Safe in Dangerous Winter Driving Conditions

AAA gives the following tips for driving safely in the snow and ice:

  • Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
  • Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Tips for Long-Distance Winter Trips

  • Be Prepared: Have your vehicle checked by a mechanic before hitting the road.
  • Check the Weather: Delay your trip if bad weather is expected.
  • Stay Connected: Before hitting the road, notify others and let them know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.

Can You Still Claim Negligence Even in Dangerous Weather Conditions?

If you are injured in a car accident (or another form of accident) that was “caused” by dangerous weather conditions, you might still be able to claim that someone’s negligence led to your injuries. While weather can lead to perilous driving conditions and increase the chance of accidents, negligent or reckless driving can be what ultimately causes you to be injured. Understandably though, such cases can be more difficult to win. The opposing side will try to blame your injuries on the weather, road conditions, or even your own driving abilities or lack of preparedness! If you’re injured in a crash, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away! Don’t try to settle this on your own – especially if the accident involved dangerous weather conditions, as many winter accidents do!

What To Do If You’re Involved in a Crash

Move to a safe area if possible. Never drive away from the scene of an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and will definitely hurt your personal injury case. Call 911 and report the accident. If you are not too badly injured, protect the scene by setting up flares or keeping your flashers on. Record what happened with photos and writing or a voice recording. Even if you don’t think you are badly injured, seek medical attention ASAP. Contact a personal injury attorney before talking to your insurance! Call (412) 918-1241 or message us online.

 

Scanlon & Wajton, Attorneys at Law

The Mitchell Building

304 Ross Street, Suite 510

Pittsburgh, PA, 15219

Phone: (412) 918-1241