Multivehicle accidents can involve dozens of vehicles and result in serious injuries and deaths. It can be difficult for drivers to avoid additional collisions once a chain-reaction accident has begun.
What can you do to avoid a multi-car pileup, and what should you do if you are in one?
Drive carefully or stay off the roads during winter weather events
Snow, ice, fog or even freezing fog are often the cause of multivehicle pileups. Avoid driving in hazardous winter weather conditions when you can. When you cannot, leave plenty of space between your vehicle and other vehicles on the road.
Reduce your speed
Poor visibility and slick road conditions can increase the amount of time you need to stop to avoid a collision. The slower you drive, the more time you have to stop. You may need to leave as much as 8-10 seconds of stopping distance when driving in hazardous weather conditions.
Watch for tailgaters
Check for cars that are following too closely in your rearview mirror. If the driver behind you is right on your bumper, change lanes or slow down and let the other vehicle pass.
Minimize the damage
If a crash is unavoidable, do as much as you can to reduce the damage. Avoid slamming on your brakes if the roads are slippery. Instead, apply repeated light pressure to slow your vehicle and attempt to steer into shrubs or a guardrail instead of another vehicle. Watch out for people who may be walking around their cars after a crash.
Being involved in a multi-vehicle accident can be a frightening experience. However, remaining calm and taking steps to reduce the damage could prevent injuries or even save a life.