One of the earliest lessons new drivers learn is what to do if they’re involved in a car accident. Drivers’ education videos and pamphlets may feature two drivers politely exchanging insurance information, following a fender-bender. But when a crash involves three, four, or dozens of cars, sorting out the details becomes more challenging.

Just northwest of Columbia, a crash in May 2015 involving at least 10 vehicles shut down Interstate 26 in both directions. One of the vehicles was a tanker truck carrying fuel. The crash ignited the fuel, and a fire spread to other vehicles. Looking at the photos of the charred vehicle remains, it’s incredible the pile-up caused no fatalities – only four drivers sustained injuries in the crash. Many multi-vehicle accidents, however, have much more serious outcomes.

Louthian Attorneys Columbia, SCIf you’ve been injured in multi-vehicle crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Louthian Law Firm has been representing South Carolina personal injury victims for more than five decades, helping them achieve the best outcome possible. Find out if you have a case. Call today to request your free consultation: 1-855-572-8201.

Crash Causes

In multi-car accidents like the one that occurred on I-26, drivers are most concerned with getting out of harm’s way. Determining the cause of the crash is a matter for police investigators – and one that can take considerable time.

In March 2015, Michigan police announced the conclusion of an investigation into a January crash involving 193 vehicles. Investigators pieced together the events of the day from witness and driver testimony, and from review of roadside camera footage. They concluded that the primary cause of the crash was drivers traveling too fast for road conditions, which is illegal in Michigan. Police issued speed-related citations to 30 commercial vehicle drivers and 28 other motorists, and cited three drivers who were driving without insurance, one who had no driver’s license, and one who had an improper registration plate.

Multi-car pile-ups rarely occur spontaneously. Often, a single-vehicle or two-vehicle crash that blocks the road is a precursor to a chain-reaction crash. Other motorists may be traveling too fast or following other cars too closely to avoid a crash scene. Fog or snow may also obscure a driver’s view of a crash ahead. Investigators used to be somewhat limited in their ability to determine multi-car crash causes, but roadside cameras have helped them more accurately determine fault.

Occasionally, the cause of a multiple-vehicle crash is immediately evident. In a deadly June 2015 crash in Chattanooga, Tenn., the driver of a tractor-trailer slammed into a line of cars that were stopped on Interstate 75, due to construction. The crash killed six people and injured six others. Police reported that the truck driver had been on the clock for 50 hours at the time of the crash, a violation of federal law that limits hours of driving time, and he had traces of the illegally manufactured stimulant methamphetamine in his blood.

Impaired drivers cause a large number of serious and fatal crashes. Driving while drowsy, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can interfere with one’s judgment, vision, motor skills, and reaction time. Methamphetamine use, specifically, may give drivers a false sense of alertness and has been a factor in crashes where a driver was speeding or failed to stop.

If you believe an impaired driver caused a crash that injured you or a member of your family, we may be able to help you. Call us today for a no-obligation consultation at (803) 454-1200.

Avoiding Pile-Ups

Weather plays a key role in many multiple-vehicle crashes. When roads are slick, vehicles may need more distance to come to a complete stop, so it’s important for drivers to leave plenty of room between themselves and the vehicles ahead of them and to slow down. Slowing down when visibility is poor may also help drivers avoid unexpected obstacles in the roadway.

Perhaps the single most effective action drivers can take to reduce their crash risk is to pay attention. That means keeping cellphones out of reach while driving and focusing on the task of driving, rather than eating, daydreaming, or even engaging in a serious conversation with a passenger. Especially in heavy traffic, or in construction zones where traffic may suddenly decelerate, drivers need to be alert and able to react quickly if a vehicle ahead stops suddenly, or if a crash occurs ahead.

A multi-vehicle crash can be a terrifying event to experience, and the aftermath can be quite confusing for drivers. Louthian Law Firm has helped people understand their options following a personal injury crash and has achieved successful results. Don’t wait to get help. Contact us today via our online form, or call us at (803) 454-1200.