It’s hard to imagine what a 70 vehicle pileup looks like if you haven’t been involved in one. But it happened in December near Baltimore, MD. Or even an 18 vehicle pileup just north of Orangeville, ON. Multi-vehicle pileups are headlines that get noticed because they usually involve multiple fatalities and even more injuries.
Multi-vehicle pileups are often thought about and written about as though they’re unavoidable. It’s considered “weather related”. Usually, some sort of weather event will occur which reduces visibility, and sometimes traction on the road, such as – snow, rain, fog, smoke, smog or dust. But most of these aren’t unpredictable. The sad thing is the lives lost in these accidents are often avoidable.
Bad weather that creates dangerous driving conditions are predicted ahead of time. We usually have some heads up when it comes to snow storms, blinding rain, smoke from a wild fire, smog and even some advanced warning about the possibility of dust storms. These events can quickly cause visibility to be reduced to almost zero.
A sudden loss of visibility with highway traffic can lead a horrific pileup.
Drivers caught in zero visibility have a lot of bad options. Sudden stopping can cause drivers behind them to crash into their rear but may be unavoidable if traffic is stopped in front of them. Pulling onto the shoulder can have the same effect when others try to do the same. Reducing speed is a must as it lessens the speed and energy if they’re involved in a crash. It’s an emergency situation and the outcome can be deadly.
Should You Be On The Road
As professional drivers, we need to know when the risks are too high to be on the road or explore reroute possibilities. We need to make the decisions which keep us out of emergency situations. NO LOAD OR DELIVERY TIME IS WORTH A LIFE OR INJURY.
While we can’t stop at the first little bit of unfavourable conditions, we need to be aware of possible severe weather we’re driving into, monitor its progression, and make situational decisions and risk assessments. Usually, vehicles involved in a pileup shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place. A multi-vehicle crash with fatalities is in and of itself evidence.
Avoid Bad Situations
Knowing what is happening on your route is essential for safety. Obviously, proper trip planning is a must. Know the weather forecasts, and other possible challenges, before you start your trip. We all have pretty powerful computers in our pockets and keeping up to date on weather, road, and traffic conditions are easier than ever. Clear and proper communication with your dispatch/operations department and clients will allow everyone to be on the same page. While this industry can be filled with pressure to deliver on time, most people are understanding when safety issues arise.
At Len Dubois Trucking we understand our driver is the professional on the ground and is the best person to make safety decisions. Safety is our number one goal and is a team effort. We support our drivers when they make the decision that conditions are too bad to continue safely.