What a mess on the highway.

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v w
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What a mess on the highway.

Postby v w » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:19 pm

Those of us who live in the cooler climes of the country have a slight smile every time the TV shows those in the warmer areas when they get a sixteenth of an inch of snow and and are all over the road. Well there must have been a whole lot of "southern visitors" here last Friday morning and managed to pile up 193 vehicles on the highway including at least 70 semis.(Added. :D This should not be taken too seriously by our southern friends. I will bet about 80% of the vehicles had Michigan plates.) It closed the road for 43 hours. It was on the national news so you may have seen it. The temperature was in single digits and the wind chill was 15 to 20 below. Our primary school was turned into a shelter for those involved. Responders had a bus as a warming shelter. Fourteen fire departments assisted as they couldn't say out a long time. One of the trucks on fire was a tanker of formic acid so the area had to be evacuated. This fire ignited the truck which rammed it. This truck was carrying fireworks which then went off. The scene was three miles east of here and the exit where the road was closed a quarter mile east but those wishing to beat the crowd were coming past us but since they had to find a way to get into the other traffic at the stop sign traffic was backed up past us. I don't know how far since I can only see down the road a half mile. I stayed home. It was peaceful today with only the normal flow of traffic. Temperature in the upper 20's which is close to average and the sun shinning. But I got to wondering. What was the cost to the local taxpayers and the state to clean up that mess? One driver was killed and only three were kept at the hospitals so I guess things could have been a lot worse. Vern
Last edited by v w on Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:21 pm

It made the news a couple times here in eastern Mo.
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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby torchred89 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:27 am


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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby Urbish » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:12 am

Here are links to a couple of videos:

Fireworks going off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCMU1MGrRhs

Cars and semi trucks piling up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDb_MENTSE0

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby Gary Dotson » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:04 am

I heard about this on the news the other day, but those videos really are crazy! That sure was a lot of fireworks!

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby v w » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:45 pm

Gary Dotson wrote:I heard about this on the news the other day, but those videos really are crazy! That sure was a lot of fireworks!

40,000 pounds of fireworks. What news reports didn't say was that about the same time as this one occurred another crash closed the eastbound lanes about 8 miles west of the large one. A couple of hours fixed it. Saturday morning about four miles east of the large one a westbound semi lost it, went thru the median, thru the barrier and hit a car head on. Driver of the car has serious but not life threatening injuries. This closed the eastbound lanes for a short time. This is to say nothing of the single vehicle slide offs. Saturday afternoon a friend wanted a pickup truck towed for repair. No tow service would even take a reservation. This morning the wait was still four hours. I-94 is the main highway from Detroit to Chicago and has all kinds of drivers on it. There are a lot of Canadian trucks running from Detroit and Port Huron which also makes truck traffic heavy. I have driven on 94 during one of these storms and remarked to the dispatcher that it looked like a million dollar junk yard. I made it thru driving a company Neon, running slow. Most slide offs are into the median. I don't know if that means most vehicles were in the left lane or not. A better choice during one of these storms is to use I-80 if going to Chicago but that is a toll road. One thing to be appreciated was the police and firemen who went to all cars some of which were sandwiched in the middle in cars hardly recognizable before all fires were out and were happy to say they found no one for their efforts but with a smile could say "We got them all". Vern

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby Rick Spivey » Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:47 pm

Blame it on "Southern visitors" if you want, but I saw it on TV also. Whoever those people were, they were traveling entirely too fast for the conditions, and even a southerner could see that in the videos. NO ONE knows how to drive on ICY roads, regardless of where you were raised.
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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby cub 3 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:33 pm

Hey Rick I'am with you on that one!!

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby v w » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:08 am

Rick, The opening should not be taken seriously. It is more of a barb to my fellow statesmen who think they are such hot shots. I have changed the original post. You are correct that speed was the largest factor. The first R&L truck shown hitting the pile up doesn't even appear to be able to slow down. This is at the bottom of what for a MI freeway is a rather steep descent so people were cresting the hill to find themselves going too fast on snowpack headed downhill toward a pileup. Not an ideal driving condition. Can you say aww sssss.....hucky darn? Vern

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby Rick Spivey » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:37 pm

:) Aww, Vern, I won't hold it against you!

Seriously, I will admit that Southern drivers have very little chance to experience true snow driving. More often, we get freezing rain, or snow (wet mushy) that turns to ice after the daytime thaw then nighttime freeze.

Truth is, folks down here ALWAYS drive too fast for the road conditions. If I have to go to work in it, I will leave the house before daybreak just to avoid the foolish drivers.

What I saw in the Michigan videos looked more like our icy conditions than snow. Snow is actually quite easy to drive in, but requires slowing down, and thinking about what might happen at intersections, downhills, and uphills.

All that said, you guys up north can have it. I hope I NEVER have to drive in ice or snow again, ever!
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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby Matt Kirsch » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:32 pm

Unfortunately being Southern has nothing to do with it.

The first snowstorm of the year is the worst. It seems like everyone in the greater Rochester NY area forgets how to drive in winter. There are cars in the ditch, and it takes an hour to travel less than 10 miles.

On the second day, everybody's figured it out and traffic flows smoothly.

However if it's been a couple weeks since any sort of snow event, people forget all over again, and it's like nobody has driven in snow before.

I gotta imagine it's the same all over. You just count yourself lucky that nothing of this magnitude happens.

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Re: What a mess on the highway.

Postby danovercash » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:22 pm

From what I saw on TV they were going from blue sky to whiteout in a matter of seconds. Highway probably should have been closed till storm blew over. Even if you can handle snow, nobody can safely drive in a whiteout or dense fog.
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