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Rain And Speed Contribute to 41-Car Pileup Along I-81

On Sunday, a 41-vehicle pileup occurred along I-81 in central Virginia. According to reports from police and other emergency responders, a two-car accident combined with heavy rain and speeding drivers to cause the terrible accident which left 10 people seriously injured.

Witnesses say the chain reaction crash began when two vehicles collided and each came to a stop on the interstate. One car’s back end was partially blocking one lane of traffic while the other vehicle partially blocked the other lane. Almost immediately after the initial accident heavy rain began to fall and other cars faced a difficult task of trying to weave between the two broken down vehicles.

Police say they were told the rain was so heavy that visibility was cut to less than 20 feet and drivers going too fast for the conditions were unable to quickly stop once they reached the accident scene. All in all, a total of six-tractor-trailers were involved in the pileup as well as dozens of passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.

Traffic backed up for five miles, as all southbound lanes were closes for hours Sunday afternoon and evening. According to authorities, it took more than 24 hours to remove all the broken and smashed cars and trucks that were scattered across I-81 near Lexington, Virginia.

Police say that 10 people were injured in the pileup including two who had to be airlifted to local hospitals for treatment. News reports indicate that a young child was among those seriously injured.

Though the accident was already very bad, it could have been much worse. Police say that at least two of the tractor-trailers involved in the wreck drove their vehicles off the road in an attempt to avoid hitting other cars. Police say this decision likely saved lives given that the impact of an 80,000-pound commercial vehicle on a stopped passenger vehicle can often prove deadly.

The accident should serve as a serious reminder for just how dangerous speeding on wet roads can be. Drivers forget that everything becomes more difficult in the rain; visibility is reduced and stopping quickly becomes dangerous. By slowing down you can greatly increase your ability to remain in control of your vehicle and keep those inside your car safe.

If you’ve been injured in a Virginia car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident you likely are wondering what you should do to move the case forward and ensure you and your family receive the financial compensation you deserve. If so, consider checking out my firm’s library of attorneys' answers to frequently asked questions regarding Virginia (VA) truck accidents.

Here's a Google Map showing the location of the 41-car pileup:

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Randall E. Appleton
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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