Secondary Accidents in Virginia Cause Further Injuries
On busy highways like Interstate 64 east and westbound through the Virginia Peninsular where there are only two lanes, every traffic collision means the potential for another traffic accident. I was driving my son the other day to meet some friends of his in Richmond and was amazed at how there were two accidents involving seven cars in a 3 mile stretch in the Newport News area around the Fort Eustis exit.
When the first wreck occurs the people have to get off the highway and pull over into whatever shoulder is available. Because the legislature in Richmond, Virginia has failed to expand Interstate 64 even though they’ve needed to for years it’s only two lanes in most major stretches between Norfolk and Richmond. This means that when there’s a wreck even if there’s space for them to pull over onto the shoulder it causes huge backups, congestions and bottlenecks.
Once the police, fire, emergency medical services and tow trucks get to the scene there’s a huge number of vehicles over right next to one of the two travel lanes. Often it’s to the left where the traffic should be running at 65 miles an hour in the left hand fast lane or within feet of it.
In order to protect police officers, tow truck drivers, emergency medical services (ambulance) personnel and the people who were involved in the wreck Virginia has a “move over” law which says that you should give space of at least a lane if at all possible to these people dealing with a vehicle accident. Now the busy two lane road is down to a one lane road. This is a recipe for a secondary accident. As all the cars slam on their brakes not realizing that there is a huge stoppage up ahead someone is going to not pay enough attention or is going to be following too close. That car is going to hit the car in front of it and now we have a secondary accident.
Secondary accidents are not only bad for the flow of traffic but can result in some of the worse injuries and traffic fatalities imaginable. For example if the car that gets rear ended because of the first accident and slowdown is hit by a tractor trailer now there could be a giant chain reaction wreck as that car is shoved into the one in front of it and so on. Or if the tractor trailer that is unable to stop in time because he hasn’t left himself enough distance happens to be carrying hazardous materials there could be a giant chemical spill or a fire ball.
Now what might have been a fender bender between the first vehicles which results in a back injury or a neck injury to occupants of a vehicle suddenly has led to a chain of events in which people have actually been killed. Another bad scenario for secondary accidents is where someone isn’t honoring the move over law or paying enough attention and manages to strike one of the emergency personnel dealing with the accident. Tow truck drivers, ambulance crew and state troopers get hurt this way every year. Secondary accidents are a real peril and the nature of our busy highways in Virginia only compound the problem.
If you have been hurt in a secondary accident or any other kind of wreck in Virginia, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.