In April, a multiple-vehicle accident occurred near Ritzville on Interstate 90 close to milepost 200. Due to the accident, westbound lanes of Interstate 90 were temporarily closed. Based on reports provided by law enforcement, minor injuries were incurred by victims. Consequently, law enforcement in the area asked drivers who encounter dust storms to reduce their speed and stop if necessary by pulling their vehicle to the side of the road with their seatbelt fastened.
While they might not be as common an occurrence as they once were, dust storms are still serious events that can result in deadly car accidents. As in this case, dust storms can also result in multiple-vehicle accidents, which create challenging questions of fault and responsibility.
To better prepare motorists for these dangers, the following will review some critical details about multiple-vehicle accidents. Not surprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that multiple-vehicle crashes represent approximately a third of all vehicle collisions.
Why Multiple-Vehicle Collisions are So Common
While dust storms are one, many other factors can quickly result in multiple-vehicle accidents. Sometimes, these accidents are caused by a driver who temporarily diverts his or her attention from the road and collides with another motorist. Debris that falls from commercial trucks is also a common cause of these accidents.
Unfortunately, even though there are often multiple motorists responsible for these accidents, it is frequently the case that only one driver is held accountable for all the resulting damage. Some of the parties that are commonly held responsible in multiple-vehicle accidents include:
- In most multiple-vehicle accidents, the driver of the rear-most vehicle will be held responsible for the collision. This is because these vehicles often create chain-reactions among other involved vehicles.
- The driver of the vehicle in the back, however, is not always held responsible. Sometimes, the driver of the vehicle in front is held responsible, which might be the case if a driver stops suddenly or makes a dangerous lane change.
- If the driver of a vehicle in the back can establish that he or she did not have adequate time to respond, the driver of a vehicle in the middle of an accident might be found responsible.
- If a multiple-vehicle accident is caused by either a design or manufacturing defect, a motor vehicle manufacturer or a mechanic will be held responsible for causing an accident.
Strategies to Avoid Dust Storms
One of the best ways to reduce a motorist's chance of ending up in a dust storm is to avoid these storms altogether. As a result, if you hear about these storms or are aware of factors that might cause one, it is best to stay off the road.
Some of the other safety strategies that motorists should remember to follow include:
- If you are already in a dust storm or unable to pull over, make sure that other motorists can both see and hear you.
- If you need to pull over, make sure to do so safely. This means utilizing both brake lights and flashing hazard lights to indicate to other motorists of your intentions. This drastically reduces the risk of rear-end accidents.
- After pulling over, wait until the storm has passed before moving further.
Obtain the Services of a Skilled Accident Attorney
One issue that often makes multiple vehicle accidents challenging is that it can be difficult who is responsible for the collision. Fortunately, a knowledgeable lawyer can help.
If you or a loved one needs the help of an experienced accident attorney, do not hesitate to contact West Law Office.