Saturday, April 25, 2015

Massive Collision In Wyoming

In the last ten days there have been two horrific pile-ups on I-80 in Wyoming.

The first one happened on April 16th.  There were over 30 vehicles involved and 20 people were injured.  
The video below captures the vehicles as they crash into one another.  I have watched this video over and over.  It's not the best because it's narrow-screen cell phone video, but it captures each truck as they pass by and crash into the ones ahead of them. Watch with your volume turned up for full effect.

You can hear the whizzing of their tires as they fly by.  Some of them apply their brakes, you can hear the air escaping, but most of them are just driving WAY too fast for the conditions.

Among them - TransAm, AmeriFreight, CR England, Quest, Cowan, Action Cargo, Central Refrigerated Freight, an unknown car hauler (holy shit, he was flying), and of course, FedEx. And I say "of course, FedEx" because they are the number one offender in my book.  Doesn't matter where I am - middle of Arkansas, traffic in Chicago, construction zone anywhere, there is a FedEx truck driving insanely fast.  They always make me take notice.  And usually, they're pulling doubles.

In the video above, the FedEx truck just speeds by, pulling two trailers, driving like it's a dry, sunny, summer day.  What the fuck was he thinking??  Even the woman filming the video says (at 1:17), "Slow down. Slow down.  Geez."

I can't tell you what the road was like because I wasn't there - although I've driven this stretch in Wyoming and have driven in other states with these same weather conditions - and likely, the road is slick.  Maybe even icy.  Even if, by some stroke of luck it wasn't, it's still snowing.  And you can't see well.  So why on earth would you be going so fast??

A reader from Wyoming (Hi, Juli!) sent me an email - she's been reading my blog for more than five years now - asking me what I thought about the accident.  I know I probably shouldn't be judgmental (helloooo, do you read this blog?) because I'd hate if this kind of accident happened to us, causing my comments to bite me in the ass, but I really don't think it would.  Because we don't drive that fast under stellar road conditions.  

I just can't get past how fast those trucks were driving as they approached the accident. As Juli said, this area is known for having a treacherous stretch of highway.  And if you drive this route regularly - which most truckers do - you should know that in winter, in snowy conditions, in icy conditions, in fog, you need to slow the hell down.  I believe they wholly or in part contribute to their crashing into other trucks.  I mean, the crunching. Oh my God, it's horrible to even hear.  Imagine the impact?? 

This guy, a truck driver, got out and walked the wreckage to take a closer look at the crumpled trucks.  It's really a miracle there weren't any fatalities.
I've been watching these videos all week and every time I do, my eyes are glued to the screen.  I'm so glad everyone is equipped with cell phone cameras these days!

For more pictures of this accident, you can check here.  There are lots of pictures, including some good aerial shots.

In addition, four days later, there was another accident on the same exact highway.  This one caused a 60-car pileup, was fiery, and two people were killed.  You would think Wyoming, knowing this is an area that's seen over 400 crashes in the past 10 years, would just lower the speed limit to 45 mph for the ten miles where the most incidents happen.  If you have a problem driving 45 for 10 minutes, you probably shouldn't be on the road in the first place.

If you're a truck driver reading this, please slow down.  You know who you are.  I've seen you.  You've cut me off or caused my truck to sway as you speed by me.  You're the one who changes lanes without signaling, who speeds through construction zones, who tailgates other drivers - usually terrorizing passenger cars by riding their asses.  Just stop.

If you're a passenger vehicle driver, also drive slower.  And remember to stay far away from commercial vehicles of any kind.  Don't tailgate, don't ride next to a truck for a long period of time, don't cut in front of us, and not related to this particular accident, learn how to MERGE.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Even His Feet Are Handsome

2013: Not Evolved Enough To Clap Just Yet
2012: A Cat’s Life
2011: Not So Lucky
2010: A Capitol Idea
2009: Blooming Where The Sun Don’t Shine
2008: Eddie Wakes Up Smiling Friday
2007: Gnocchi From The Gods
2006: Blurry Super Hero
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


MAE said...

Horrible to watch, worse to hear.
A wonder that people didn't die in the first video. Another wonder that only two died in the second video. Sad.

heather said...

I watched (or rather, heard) that video last week and posted it to my fb page. I flinched every time I saw another truck go whizzing by and then heard the horrible crunching. My sister couldn't understand why they didn't tell each other. I told her just about the same things you just did. First and foremost, in that kind of fog and in those conditions I probably wouldn't have been driving at all unless I really had to. Always hated fog and sometimes no matter how slow you go, shit happens. Then,if I had to drive in those conditions I would've probably had the CB on. Usually I was listening to a book-on-tape (way before podcasts and satellite radio. BUT, I also told her, just as you stated, that the biggest factor in that pileup was SPEED! Crazy, how fast those trucks were going in those conditions. Horrible stuff and very lucky that nobody was killed... in that one.

Belledog said...

Will comment more later, but I am wondering if the truckers are too pressured by delivery times. Even while companies say, "be safe, be safe", these drivers were hurtling along in bad weather. Clearly they were not at safe speeds, and probably had not been for some miles. I see the DOT put out a 45 mph warning sign, but it appears to have gone unnoticed or ignored.

I always wonder if other drivers have no imagination, of how badly and quickly events can go badly, especially in poor weather. See this constantly, particularly with light trucks and SUVs and other cars.

Perhaps there should be a mandatory slower speed limit, especially for trucks, as soon as conditions deteriorate. Does Wyoming have a one size fits all speed limit? Cuz I'm not thrilled about sharing space with 75-80 mph trucks.

I'd like to hear that all the drivers that crashed their rigs, and others, get sanctioned and retrained. A lot of this seems inexcusable.

And cheers to the CRST driver, and a few others, who were driving responsibly and saved their vehicles and others.

This was appalling.