Skip to comments.Massive pileup shuts I-10 in Texas; 2 dead
Posted on 11/22/2012 8:20:56 PM PST by prairiebreeze
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Every time I read about another 100+ car pileup in Texas I just can’t figure out how it could happen. I mean, if the roads are icy, don’t you slow down? If there is limited visibility from fog, don’t you slow down?
Fog like that on a busy multilane interstate, you don’t know what to do. Keep moving and hit somebody, stop and get hit. I guess you could try to pull over as far right on the emergency lane as possible, exit the vehicle and get behind the guardrail until the fog clears. Not much else you can do.
I have been in one white-out here, in which I could not figure out what to do - luckily I was NOT on a highway, and it soon passed, but I literally could see nothing outside my cr except white everywhere, and it all looked the same. It was very dis-orientating. I imagine thick fog would be similar. BTW, these things (fog) happen in other parts of the country too. One thing that MIGHT help is for everyone to slow down, but not too suddenly (or no one vehicle should slow down too suddenly, unless all do).
I’ve only experienced whiteout conditions once in my life while driving, it is similar. I was on whatever interstate goes north from Minneapolis to St. Cloud, wind kicked up and boom, couldn’t see a blessed thing other than the tail lights of the car directly in front of me. Followed them off the edge of the pavement and nearly got the rental stuck.
Do people really need speed limit signs to have half a brain when road conditions are crappy?
The fog was an issue, but all things considered really a rather minor one until the sun in all its glory popped over the east horizon. The unusually and immediate bright light, hitting the fog blinded the drivers and it was impossible for them to see anything. Initial reaction under these extreme circumstances is fear and I am sure people’s first instinct was to hit their breaks. From there on it was all downhill. Spotty ground fog is pretty common all throughout our area, not a really big deal and something you adjust to. This situation was more like something you might see every 20 years or so.
I-10 is a major artery across the U.S. and has a WHOLE LOT of truck traffic, sometimes wall to wall. The drive to/from Houston and Beaumont has never been one for the faint of heart.
Fortunately we don’t have a whole lot of ice in Houston but when it gets to around 40 degrees we have black ice on all of the overpasses and bridges, of which there are many. There presents a whole other set of problems.
Reduced speed limit precedes the fog bank, so yes, it’s reduced injuries and fatalities considerably. It serves as a warning system, seeing the speed limit drop and if it drops a lot, you know it’s bad before you’re in the thick of it, can’t even see the lines on the road and can’t decide whether to keep moving so you won’t get hit, or stop so you won’t hit somebody.
So sorry for those who died or were injured.
We deal with something called Tule Fog here in California’s Central Valley — when I first saw this story I assumed that was where the pile-up took place. The fog is SO thick you can’t see to the end of the hood of your car!! I remember my father once getting out of the car and walking along the right side front fender guiding my mother until we could exit the freeway.
Highway Patrol says to move over to the right as quickly and carefully as possible, put your tire on the white line along the right side of the right line and follow it until you find an exit and then get off the freeway. They also
recommend NOT getting out of your car, apparently you’re safer inside than out.
Back in my truck driving days I had a similar situation in Oklahoma. Visibility went from great, to none. It’s a very lonely feeling. On one hand, I knew I could pull over to the shoulder and I would be fine but if I pulled over, there was a decent chance a car would rear-end my trailer. I did not want to be partially responsible for killing anyone.
I never did pull over, I slowed to 50 and prayed. Got lucky....
The pile ups happen because someone slowed down. As much as you want to, you don’t slow down in fog. I hate driving in dense fog. It is the worst. One time I just took a chance that what I saw was an exit. Luckily it was. Until then I just followed the tall lights of a truck in front of me at 50 mph.
50 seems to be the speed
Doesn’t it depend on the extent of the fog? The incident I described as having experienced (in the EXACT same vicinity of SE Texas, thirty years ago), you could not SEE the road in front of the car’s hood. The hood ornament was almost unseeable. Seriously. The only way to even stay on the road was going around ten miles per hour, with my head half-outside the car window, just to spot the stripes on the road. And the highway was a virtual levee, with swampy marshlands on both sides. Nowhere to turn off. Hair-raising experience. Worst I’ve ever encountered, bar none. Unreal.
Wow.. Good luck, pal.
Advise that at least 98 drivers in this wreck followed.
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