A multi-vehicle pile-up involving over 100 vehicles occurred during a spring snowstorm that caused havoc on the road between Calgary and Edmonton in Canada. The crash left over 100 motorists with injuries.
The extensive crash occurred on icy roads during a snowstorm of “white-out” conditions. White-out is a weather condition where visibility and contrast are severely reduced by snow (it can be sand as well). The horizon disappears, there are not reference points at all for drivers to navigate, and white-out conditions leave the individual with a distorted orientation and unclear awareness of their surroundings.
White-out conditions can be so severe at times that people can be lost in their own front yard. Even if the door is ten feet away they wouldn’t be able to find it and would have to feel their way back to the house. White-out conditions pose a major risk to motorists on high speed highways and have caused many significant multiple-vehicle conditions.
Driving in the snow, and especially in white-out conditions, significantly increases the likelihood you’ll get into an accident. Here are some tips to avoiding accidents in that last spring snowstorms.
- Slow down and lengthen the distance between your car and the vehicle you are following.
- Stay alert and scan the road ahead, trying to spot potential obstacles. Prepare for other cars to suddenly swerve or skid in front of you.
- Try to keep moving. Even when progress and visibility is poor, you should avoid stopping on the road or shoulder because other vehicles could run into you.
Keep an eye on weather reports, and always carry emergency supplies with you. In the Canadian highway pile up, hundreds were stuck in traffic jams for hours as emergency teams tried to sort through the aftermath. Keep blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, a good ice scraper, and snacks that can be stored for long periods of time.
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