Adverse weather conditions often lead to multi-vehicle accidents, including massive pileups. Fortunately, there are steps available to avoid becoming involved in a pileup or how to stay safe during a pileup.
Unfortunately, injuries tend to occur to those involved in pileups. Parties involved in a pileup can suffer minor injuries or severe, life-threatening injuries.
Avoid Becoming Involved in a Pileup
Once a multi-car or pileup accident begins, it may become impossible for vehicles to prevent further collisions. As adverse weather is a catalyst for pileups, drivers must be aware when weather exists that may create dangerous road conditions. The driver must change their driving style once they become aware of conditions including ice, snow, and heavy rain.
Keep Space Around You and Move Slowly
When there are dangerous road conditions, drivers should maintain as much space between vehicles as possible. When road conditions are bad, drivers should keep two to three times the normal distance between their car and others. Keeping space requires drivers to be aware of the other vehicles on the road and moving out of the way if one vehicle is tailgating them.
Drivers attempting to get to open space on the road should do so slowly. When a roadway is slippery, sudden changes in the car’s speed or direction can lead to losing control. As such, do not accelerate suddenly or slam on the breaks.
When Pileups are Unavoidable
There are times pileups are unavoidable regardless of the steps a driver takes. Once involved in a pileup, the driver and occupants must take steps to mitigate the chance of suffering a severe injury.
Stay in the Car
After accidents, it is a natural reaction to get out of the car and walk around or talk to the other driver. During a pileup, the safest place to stay is in the vehicle. Cars offer safety to their occupants, who should all remain seated with their seatbelts on. “Most pile up crashes tend to take place at high speeds, an incident involving relatively minor contact could cause a car to flip, to swerve into other lanes, or hit the barrier in between the directions of traffic. To avoid further injury, the safest place during severe weather conditions is in your car with your seatbelt on,” says Matt Aulsbrook of Aulsbrook Car & Truck Wreck Lawyers.
If the car is on fire, the occupants may have to exit the vehicle and should move to the front of the accident. Standing to the side risks a collision with a car swerving to the side in an attempt to avoid the pileup, and standing between vehicles could result in a shifting car causing an injury. Getting to the front of the pileup offers the most protection from incoming vehicles and the vehicles already involved in the pileup.
Legal Action After a Pileup
While vehicle pileups are accidents, they can result from a person’s wrongdoing. Those injured in a pileup can generally hold the party who injured them responsible for their negligence. Drivers have a responsibility to drive safely given the weather conditions, and failure to do so can result in liability.
When a driver crashes into a pileup because they were driving unreasonably, they are responsible for any injuries they caused. As a result, they are liable for any damages suffered by the injured party.
Walk Away from Pileups
After an accident, especially one involving multiple vehicles, everyone involved should first seek medical attention as some injuries may not be apparent without professional medical consolation. Once examined, make sure to keep records of physical injuries, damage to personal belongings, and expenses from the crash. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years, so if there is a liable party, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries and time spent not being able to work.