01 March 2019

70-car accident on Iowa interstate highway

This past week there was a 130-vehicle accident here in Wisconsin.  Same conditions -  whiteout weather from snow and/or windy "ground blizzard," plus idiotic driving.

Note that just pulling the car onto the shoulder was not a satisfactory escape mechanism for drivers encountering the pileup.  Some drivers fled on foot as far as possible.

The video is 14 minutes in duration, but not much substantive happens after the first 6:00.


  1. This seems unbelievable, but I guess sometimes I travel at 100kph with my way lit by beams of light with only some 50 metres of reach, which sounds irresponsible.

    1. Your children won't have to worry about this because they will ride in self-driving cars connected to and communicating with all the other self-driving cars. Nothing can possibly go wront.

  2. I was in a similar situation once on I-68 West-Virgnia on some late night. It was snowing but the roads were clear and crews were working hard to keep it that way. So the little traffic there was, was moving cautiously near or at the speed limit.

    Until I came over that one little crest and the other side had frozen. I don't think there had been any crashes but the carnage was similar to in the video. Cars all over the place. Backwards, forwards, on the road, in the ditch. Only time in my life I've ever hit the breaks full on until I stopped 10 feet behind the car in front of me. Then I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw another driver come at me way to fast. I managed to switch lanes and get out of his way, or I'd have been smushed between him and that car in front of me.

    As we were in the middle of the WV mountains, and my car was ok, I decided that hanging out there was no good, so I proceeded slowly behind a tractor trailer. As in 20-25 mph on an interstate. Some time later, I figured the road was in good shape again, and I could try to pass the slow truck. I moved to the left lane when the back of the trailer did the exact same thing. But the truck driver wasn't changing lanes. So, I just stuck behind them for the rest of the ride.....

    Another story was on I-95 after a couple feet of snow. The road had been plowed, but was still fully covered with snow. I had to get to an airport, and as my local airport was closed I had convinced the airline to let me on one state over. So I had to get out of town. The snow border was one hour south of us, I had a day, so I figured I'd try. Luckily, I ended up behind two snow plows. I figured I was golden that way. And I was.

    I was quite baffled through, to see how many people were trying to pass the snow plows through more than a feet of snow. I noticed that most cars in the ditch were SUVs and trucks. I guess there are few ads showing little Civics and Priuses plowing through snow, while there are many that do show SUVs and trucks plowing through snow. Apparently, it's harder IRL than in an ad.....

  3. I get that people felt they needed to try to "escape"; but getting out of your vehicle in a situation like this is a great way to get seriously injured or killed. Just watch the people scramble as they realize cars are still coming through and crashing into vehicles. Like that semi surprising the person in the field as it plowed through. Even if you are sitting still your car's air bags are going to trigger if you are hit hard enough and the car offers great protection. But if you are trying to scramble on foot, slowly on the slippery surface of the road, you run the risk of getting squished between vehicles. No matter how much better it may seem to try to get away, staying in the steel cage on wheels that has been designed to protect your squishy body in situations like this is the better option.

    Of course if your car is on fire, yada yada yada, use common sense.


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