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Six people were hospitalized as dozens of cars piled into each other on I-90 west of Spokane on Tuesday, November, 26, 2019. Around 2 p.m., a brief but heavy snow squall moved through the area dumping a half-inch in 30 minutes causing treacherous conditions.

Police say that from 60 to 70 cars were involved in collisions, most were minor but some cars sustained significant damage, and six people suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries and were transported to local hospitals.

Officials at the scene say that so many cars were involved that they ran out of tow-trucks in the area to remove the vehicles. All lanes were blocked for several hours both directions while emergency personnel attended to the wounded. Once the disabled cars were removed, traffic opened in both directions.

Snow and Ice Accidents

It’s that season again as snow and ice storms wreak havoc on Spokane’s highways and roads. So far, 2019 has seen the some of the earliest snowfall since records started to be taken in 1881. On September 29, 2019, Spokane International Airport got 1.4 inches making it the earliest measurable snowfall in over 100 years.

With this snow comes slick roads and the inevitable collisions and unfortunately injuries and deaths. The Federal Highway Administration reports that each year there are over 500,000 crashes in the U.S. because of snowy, icy or slushy roads. There are also nearly 140,000 injures and almost 2,000 fatalities.

The report also states that the most significant factor is the speed of the vehicles during the poor road conditions. In many cases, the vehicles aren’t traveling faster than the speed limit, but are still going too fast for conditions. The greater the speed before the incident, the more likely there will be a collision as it gets more and more difficult to bleed off the speed to avoid a crash.

Type of Adverse Conditions

Snow/Sleet: When snow or sleet accumulates, it can fool drivers into thinking they have traction, and then when the snow gets compact, or the temperature drops and hard freezes the top layer, then the driver is unable to stop  Each year, there are 210,000 snow crashes resulting in 56,000 people injured and around 740 people killed.

Slush: When show and sleet melt, it becomes slush, and this can result in reduced traction. The tricky part is that as long as the tire can push the slush away, the tire can still meet the road and get traction. However, once the accumulation gets too much for the tire’s treads, then the vehicle can lose traction. Each year, around 175,000 crashes happen in the slush with 41,000 people getting injured and 538 people are killed.

Ice: Ice has no good side to it. Once a surface is covered by ice, then traction is difficult to come by. Road surfaces are rarely all covered by ice with can fool a driver for a time thinking that they have traction, but once they are on ice and need to turn or stop, then accidents happen.

Safety Tips for Driving in Snow/Sleet/Slush/Ice

The American Automobile Association has issued driving tips for drivers experiencing winter road conditions. The first tip is to slow down, and then slow down some more. The more speed to lose to avoid a crash, the more likely the crash will happen.

  • Stay home.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Know your brakes.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it.
  • Don’t power up hills.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill.

Contact a Spokane Car Accident Lawyer.

Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation. If our Spokane Car Accident Lawyers represent you for your accident case, you have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice which is in your best interest.

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