What a Recent 29-Car Accident in Van Buren County Can Teach Us About Winter Driving
In a state like Michigan, winter driving isn’t always easy. Even if you make every effort to stay safe on the roads, from making sure your car is prepared to handle winter conditions to following best winter driving practices, there’s still a chance that you could still end up being involved in a car accident. It doesn’t take much snow or ice to make roads treacherous. Unfortunately, car accidents are very common in the winter months and it’s not at all uncommon to hear reports about large multi-car accidents.
A recent car accident in Van Buren County is just one example of this. On the morning of February 2, 2018, part of I-94 was shut down because of a 29-car pileup involving 17 semis and 12 passenger vehicles. On the morning of the accident, there was heavy lake effect snow in the area. One person was pinned in their car for a short amount of time, but information about injuries weren’t being reported at the time of the accident.
Preventing Multi-Car Accidents in the Winter
Often, these types of accidents are caused by whiteout conditions or by people not driving appropriately for the conditions. Black ice is another factor which can easily result in multi-car accidents. In the case of the Van Buren County accident, there was snowfall at the time of the accident. If you’re not able to avoid being on the road during a snowfall, remember to follow general winter driving best practices such as slowing down, increasing your following distance, keeping your windows and mirrors clean, and staying focused on your surroundings.
Generally snowy conditions can be bad enough for drivers, but whiteouts are another matter. Since whiteouts have the potential to significantly reduce visibility and can happen very suddenly, they can be extremely disorienting to drivers. If you find yourself driving in a whiteout, slow down and increase your following distance, but don’t forget to turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible to other drivers on the road. Your standard low beams will be fine for this. Using high beams in a whiteout could actually make it harder for you to see since the bright lights can bounce off the snow particles and cause glare.
During a whiteout, avoid changing lanes or passing other cars ahead of you. If conditions are bad enough that you’re having a very hard time seeing, find a safe place to stop. If you are on a freeway, pulling over onto the shoulder isn’t the safest option. Try to make it to the next exit and find a parking lot where you can wait for the snow to calm down.
What to Do After a Multi-Car Accident
Car accidents can be overwhelming enough when just one other car is involved. When multiple cars are involved, accidents need to be handled a little differently. If you’re involved in a multi-car accident, the first thing you should do is check on the passengers of your car and report the accident as soon as possible. If you have any reason at all to believe you or any of your passengers might need medical attention, be sure to mention that fact to the operator. Even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured, it’s still a good idea to see a doctor soon after the accident anyway since symptoms might take some time to show.
You might feel like you should get out and check on the occupants of the other vehicles involved, but try to remain in your car as long as possible with your seat belt on. When large car accidents happen, it’s hard to know exactly when the accident is truly over. It’s not unheard of for drivers or passengers of cars involved in these sorts of accidents to get out of their car, only to be hit by another one.
Since determining fault for a multi-car accident can be complicated, it’s a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Even when conditions are snowy or icy, other drivers have a responsibility to drive safely for the conditions. A lawyer will be able to help make sure your case is handled correctly.