As snow blankets the eastern seaboard of the United States, let this video be a cautionary tale: When it’s snowing, slow down.
Saturday’s pileup of at least 70 vehicles claimed one life and seriously injured one other person.
This footage was captured by a Department of Transportation traffic camera in Germantown, Wisconsin at Highway 41/45 at Lannon Road, (very close to our Midwest Test Facility). This was the most serious of more than 100 accidents that happened on Saturday in the Milwaukee area.
This massive crash occurred about three hours after a snowstorm began, when there was about 2 inches of snow already on the ground. The temperature was well below freezing, and this section of the six-lane freeway became a sheet of ice.
Drivers couldn’t see the cars piling up until it was too late to stop. Notice how the trucks were able to stop in time, with their massive weight and 18 braking wheels bringing their big rigs to a halt before any damage was done.
However, many of the drivers were not so lucky.
I found this tragic video to be like a nightmare unfolding, almost in slow motion. I’m astonished at how it seemed to happen in two stages, where as soon as it looked like the incident was over, even more cars came barreling down the highway from the lower left of the frame.
It was also remarkable how people jumped out of their cars and were standing in the middle of the highway as dozens of other cars came sliding toward them, out of control.
Germantown police chief Peter Hoell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The safest thing, if there’s no fire, is to stay in your car, because you’re surrounded by metal and are much safer there than if you were a pedestrian.”
I would add that if your car is still drivable, move it as far away from the roadway as possible.
Scary stuff. Please, dear readers, be careful out there.
Image and video: LiveLeak/Wisconsin Department of Transportation