Texas Highway Pileup Leads to Devastation
When the weather turns bad, motorists must adjust their driving accordingly in order to proceed safely. The fact is that one or two bad actors on the road can make it more dangerous for everyone. Nothing demonstrates this better than a recent deadly pileup on a Fort Worth interstate.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the massive pileup began with ice-slicked roads and ended with more than 100 entangled vehicles, six deaths, and dozens of hospitalizations. The accident in question happened soon after 6 AM on the southbound TEXPress lanes of Interstate 35W – just north of downtown Fort Worth. The two toll lanes involved are bound by concrete barriers, and a total of 133 vehicles were bottlenecked within its boundaries by the time the crash lost momentum. All told, the immense pileup spanned the half-mile between Northside Drive and Northeast 28th Street. As the accident continued to build, all of the following appeared on the scene:
26 Fire Department vehicles
80 police cars
Initially, 65 people sought treatment in response to the accident, but more are expected to do so.
Early Morning Traffic
A large number of those involved were health care workers, which is in keeping with the 7 AM shift change for downtown hospitals. Three police officers on their way to work and another officer who was helping on-site were injured and hospitalized. All four have since been released. Ultimately, it is believed that a couple of motorists lost control of their vehicles on the road's slippery service, and other vehicles began piling up from there.
The Accident’s Aftermath
By 10:30 that morning, most of the people involved in the long snaking crash had gotten out of the fray or had been removed from their vehicles, but many of the involved vehicles remained on the highway. The immense accident closed all of I-35W’s northbound lanes (including toll lanes), and traffic traveling in both directions was backed up on I-30 to Interstate 820 in Fort Worth. Lawmakers are asking important questions about why the stretch of interstate involved had not been salted or sanded in response to the wintery weather, and officials reminded everyone that the safest response to ice is to stay off of it unless you absolutely have to be out in it.
Every driver is responsible for driving safely, which means driving in accordance with the law but also means driving safely in response to the condition of the road, including the deleterious effects of bad weather. The combination of moisture and freezing temperatures can quickly turn deadly, and the only way to address the matter safely is to reduce your speed considerably and to proceed with utmost caution.