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Icy conditions blamed for New York pileup

Roads in several states became dangerously icy during the recent cold weather, leading to multiple car crashes and traffic jams. Thirty-five people were injured on Dec. 9 in Westchester County on the Bronx River Parkway when hundreds of cars were unable to stop. Extremely slick roads combined with the downward slope of the road caused the cars to lose control, even though most were traveling at very slow speeds.

About 50 cars piled up in snowy conditions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Morgantown earlier that day. Some cars were stranded in this multi-collision pile up for seven hours; one man was killed after stepping out of his car and being struck by another. On the same day in Maryland, two tractor-trailers collided, with one overturning, causing a three-hour delay. Approaching motorists were forced to go off of the sides of the snow-covered road.

Even in the southern United States, the weather's impact on traffic was severe. The border of Utah and Arizona saw ten inches of snow and consequent highway closures. On Interstate 10 in West Texas, a snarl of wrecked cars blocked the road for 26 hours; a witness on the scene reported two inches of ice on the road. People, including families with children, who were stranded there made do with shared food and water from charitable strangers and tried in vain to reach emergency services.

When fault for a car accident cannot be determined, it may be possible for injured individuals to seek settlements from their own insurance companies. However, the insurance company may deny the claim based on drivers not practicing due caution in the inclement weather. Using witness testimony and investigative reports, it could be proven that the accident was entirely unavoidable, which might allow a claim to be successful.

Source: ABC, "New York Car Pile-Up Latest in Series of Icy Crashes", Liz Fields, December 09, 2013

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