A massive pileup involving more than 50 cars, trucks and tractor-trailers on I-78 in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania on Saturday claimed the lives of three people and sent 40 others to area hospitals. The fatal accident, which occurred just outside of Harrisburg, closed both lanes of Interstate 78. Among those involved in the pileup was the Penn State Lehigh Valley men’s basketball team. According to news reports, the charter bus carrying the team was hit by a tractor-trailer. The university reported that there were no serious injuries to any of the students.
The Lebanon Daily News said that the crash, which happened Saturday morning near the Route 22 split, may have been related to a passing snow squall. Those injured in the crash were transported to Hershey Medical Center, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Reading Hospital and Penn State Health St. Joseph, near Reading. By late afternoon, crews were still trying to untangle vehicles involved in the crash. PennDOT reported that at 8p.m. the Interstate was still closed as 13 tractor-trailers and more than a dozen cars remained on the road.
Pennsylvania car accident lawyer warns to beware of snow squalls
Snow squalls, or a brief intense snow shower with gusty winds, can cut visibility down to just a few feet when driving. When you’re on a highway, this can quickly lead to a dangerous situation, especially when on an interstate filled with trucks and tractor-trailers. In addition to the whiteout conditions, snow squalls can rapidly lead to slick and unsafe conditions on roadways. You should reduce your speed to match the weather conditions and also turn on your headlights and emergency flashers when you encounter a snow squall or heavy snowstorm. If the weather becomes too intense, pull safely off the road away from traffic and keep your lights and flashers on. Both car and truck drivers should always use extra precautions when driving during the winter months, as the weather can change quickly and road conditions rapidly turn dangerous.
In fatal crashes involving large trucks, the National Highway Transportation Safety Association found that 71% of the people killed were the occupants of other vehicles. People in passenger vehicles are very vulnerable when involved in a truck accident. Larger trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles and take twice as long to stop. A fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling at a speed of 55 M.P.H. can take 100 yards, or the entire length of a football field to come to a stop. When road conditions are slick, that distance can even be longer, resulting in a deadly situation for the occupants of passenger vehicles traveling in front of them.
The car and truck accident attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli in Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre encourage everyone to drive safely and adjust your speed to the weather conditions. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the injury lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free consultation. Call 215-575-9237 for our Philadelphia office or 570-714-HURT for our Wilkes-Barre office.