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Massive pileup on Texas Interstate. Why are roads open in this kind of weather?

DALLAS (AP) — At least five people were killed and dozens injured Thursday in a massive crash involving 75 to 100 vehicles on an icy Texas interstate, police said, as a winter storm dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on parts of the U.S.

At the scene of the crash on Interstate 35 near Fort Worth, a tangle of semitrailers, cars and trucks had crashed into each other and had turned every which way, with some vehicles on top of others.

“The vehicles are just mangled,” said Matt Zavadsky, spokesman for MedStar, which provides the ambulance service for the area. “Multiple tow trucks are on scene. It’s going to take a lot to disentangle this wreck.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pileup-shuts-down-texas-road-144625087.html

Posted - February 11

Responses


  • 40803

     

      While this answer is not or may not be sufficient, it’s all I could come up with when at a loss for something more concrete: I’m sure that in hindsight, the authorities wish they had closed the road. 

      At the same time, however, two thoughts come to mind. 1) Authorities are often “darned” if they do act and “darned” if they don’t act. Inconveniencing the traveling public often brings outcries against those who are trying to serve and protect from the very people being served and protected. 2) Many motorists completely ignore road closures. When flash floods occur here in Southern California, they’re so rare that few drivers know their true danger and go around posted barriers, find themselves stuck and have to be rescued, which in turn pits first responders in an even more dangerous situation. That’s not to say “don’t close the road”, it’s just bringing up another twist in the dilemma. 

    ~

      February 11, 2021 2:59 PM MST
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  • 16152
    I understand.  I also think that people who drive SUVs and small trucks think that the weather conditions are not dangerous to them.  I've been a slick roads going slowly because you can't see black ice while SUV drivers were speeding by as though the roads were dry.  
      February 11, 2021 4:33 PM MST
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  • 40803

     

      That’s a very good point about SUVs. Many of them are top-heavy and/or prone to rollover for a variety of reasons, yet the average driver has no proper training nor experience in operating them safely. 

    ~

      February 11, 2021 6:19 PM MST
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  • 16152
    The news showed video of a FedEx truck sliding off the road and overturning.  I think they said it hit three cars on the way down.  I can't imagine a 100 car pileup.
      February 11, 2021 7:27 PM MST
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  • 40803

     

      Do you know if the FedEx truck was the very first accident, and that which started the pileup?
    ~

      February 11, 2021 8:11 PM MST
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  • 16152
    I don't think it was.  From the very brief clip, it looked as though there were other cars in front of it that were involved.
      February 12, 2021 7:40 AM MST
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  • 16152
    This photo would indicate that there were crashed cars already when the FedEx truck hit them.

      February 12, 2021 8:14 AM MST
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  • 6725
    I'm trying to think of a time when roads were closed here to to weather conditions and I don't recall any. Sometimes the highway department will warn against unnecessary travel. I suspect that closing roads without warning would cause its own problems. I have driven in white-out conditions and on roads that were completely ice covered usually because weather conditions worsened as I was trying to get back home. We do have times when schools and businesses shut down so that people don't have reasons to get out on the road - although it usually means some of us have no choice but to head for home if it happens during the day. It's a tough decision to shut down every time there is a forecasted weather event, because the exact timing and location can change at the last minute. A change in temperature can mean that rain becomes sleet or that forecasted sleet stays as rain, for example. I will say that because our weather is so risky, people here are better at driving in adverse conditions. It only takes one inexperienced driver to set off a chain reaction which may be what happened in Texas.
      February 11, 2021 3:34 PM MST
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  • 16152
    I've been in a car driving home in a white out blizzard.  We were driving slowly because the windshield wipers were all but useless and the only way we knew we were still on the road was because we could see the tail lights of the car in front of us.  In the lane to the let of us, semis were speeding by as though it was sunny and warm.  All it takes is one truck to jacknife or overturn and it's curtains for anyone in the way.  
      February 11, 2021 4:31 PM MST
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  • 25211
    I have never seen a highway or interstate ever closed because of the weather.  

    People have the right to drive if they choose even in bad weather. 

    I have only seen one road closed in bad weather. It is a very steep side road...like 80 degree angle road. 
      February 11, 2021 8:33 PM MST
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  • 5949
    I don't mean any disrespect to people from southern states, but most simply do not know how to drive on ice or snow because they've never had to learn. Highway departments also don't have the necessary tools (salt, sand, plows) to combat these elements. 




      February 11, 2021 9:17 PM MST
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  • 25211
    You are right. (We agree on something LOL)
    Any time a warm state gets even a little bit of snow we hear about big wrecks.  
    I cannot even imagine so many people being out on icey roads before dawn. I guess on the way to work.
    Just not smart. This post was edited by my2cents at February 12, 2021 3:01 PM MST
      February 12, 2021 7:48 AM MST
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  • 5949
    Haha. Better write it down somewhere! 


      February 12, 2021 3:02 PM MST
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