Foggy and Icy Conditions Caused a Tractor-Trailer and Bus Crash on Afton Mountain
Fog and ice is a dangerous combination on the highways of Virginia in the fall and winter. Police say icy conditions caused a serious I-64 crash between a tractor-trailer and a tour bus on Afton Mountain that sent 19 people to local hospitals.
The crash occurred at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 17 on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 near the Nelson-Augusta county lines, according to Virginia State Police. Spokeswoman Corinne Keller blamed “heavy fog and icy road conditions.”
Police said the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying mail lost control on ice and the semi-truck overturned on the interstate. A charter bus nearby crashed into the overturned tractor-trailer after its driver was unable to avoid the rig.
Geller said the impact of the crash split the tractor-trailer in half. Over 20 people were traveling on the Silver Lining Charters & Tours bus. Ambulances took about 19 people to UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville for treatment. Four were admitted. The injured included the bus driver and the driver of the semi-truck. Although police described some of the injuries as serious, no fatalities were reported.
At least seven minor crashes were reported near the tractor-trailer and tour bus crash, police said.
Interstate 64 at mile marker 100 was closed down for around five hours as emergency crews responded to the scene. They transported patients, cleared spilled mail from the scene, and removed the crashed vehicles.
UVA Medical Center reported four patients remained in the hospital 24 hours after the wreck. Two were reported to be in good condition and two in fair condition.
Fog and ice make for a challenging driving environment but commercial vehicle drivers have a responsibility to control their speed and adapt to hazardous conditions. People who end up injured due to the fault of a commercial driver may have grounds to sue a trucking company or a tour bus operator.
Motorists should exercise care over the winter months and look out for black ice. Fog and ice can be particularly hazardous in mountainous areas. Foggy conditions on a stretch of I-77 at Fancy Gap near the Virginia-North Carolina border in the winter of 2013 caused a 95 vehicle pile-up that killed three and injured more than 75. Virginia State Police reported 17 separate crashes occurred within a mile of the base of Fancy Gap Mountain, an area notorious for thick fog banks. The Roanoke Times reported at least six mass pile-ups on the mountain since 1997.
Safe Driving Tips for Icy and Foggy Conditions
Icy and fog are among the most difficult driving conditions because they are so unpredictable. Drivers cannot always see ice, particularly black ice until it’s too late. Fog can thicken without warning, cutting visibility to almost zero. Thick fog banks are a particular issue in mountainous parts of western Virginia. Avoid these conditions if possible. If you must drive, please heed the following tips:
- In thick fog, pull over into a safe place off the road until conditions improve;
- Reduce your speed when driving in cold, foggy conditions;
- Use roadside reflectors as a guide if they are on the highway;
- Use your windscreen wipers and defrosters to limit moisture on the windscreen and to reduce glare;
- Make sure you have your lights on. Drive with low beams and fog lamps. High beams reflect off the fog and worsen visibility;
- Use the right-hand side of the road as a guide to prevent you from drifting across the highway;
- Don’t tailgate. Increase your following distance behind the vehicle ahead;
- Watch out for animals on the road. Wildlife like deer are more difficult to see in foggy conditions;
- Take care on bridges and overpasses where ice is most likely to form;
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid skidding;
- Don’t power up hills;
- Avoid driving with cruise control on;
- Don’t stop when you are driving up a hill
- Be prepared for bad weather like ice, snow, and fog. Have a first aid kit and warm clothing and blankets in your car;
- Tell people about your route before you set out and have a fully charged cellphone.
Call a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer if You Are Hurt on Foggy or Icy Roads
The fact a driver lost control in icy or foggy conditions does not remove his or her liability for injuries and property damage from the wreck. These crashes may be complicated because they often involve multiple vehicles and big rigs. Please talk to the experienced Virginia trucking and auto accident lawyers at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers today.