Slick Roads And Whiteout Conditions Cause 100-Car Crash In Colorado

A bomb cyclone hit Colorado earlier this week, with many areas being covered in snow. Conditions on the I-25 highway were particularly bad and the Wellington Fire Protection District revealed there was a “100-car accident” north of the town.

In a Facebook post, the fire department said they started fielding 911 calls about a multi-vehicle accident on northbound I-25 at approximately 10:10 am on Wednesday.

Crews responded to the scene and saw the initial six-car crash transform into “multiple multi-vehicle accidents, due to poor road conditions.” Given the magnitude of the incident, the I-25 was shut down and a warming center was opened by the Red Cross to help stranded motorists.

The Coloradoan reported all these accidents occurred on a one-mile stretch of I-25 and they primarily consisted of two huge crashes. One involved around 30 vehicles, while the second involved approximately 40.

Photos from the scene are pretty crazy, as you can see one truck rear-ended a semi and was then hit by another pickup. Somehow, the first truck’s rear wheels ended up on the hood of the second pickup. Another photo reveals three semis crashed into one another, while others show semis drove off the road in an attempt to avoid a collision.

Some of the accidents were pretty severe and several of the vehicles, including a Jeep Renegade, appear to be a total loss. Despite this, the Wellington Fire Protection District says there were no fatalities. However, there were a number of injuries, ranging “from minor to serious.”

It’s not hard to understand how these crashes occurred; video footage from Denver 7 showed near whiteout conditions in the state. As the reporter noted, visibility was limited to approximately 100 yards (~90 meters).


more photos...
  • ace_9

    This will be always happening until the cars would automatically force themselves to go only as fast as the conditions allow it. I’m also guilty of going too fast on snow and ice, especially with limited visibility. But only because I don’t have any other choice. Going slowly, when 50 % of drivers are going much faster in such conditions is only asking for an accident.

    • McFly

      So is going too fast, obviously. 🙂

      Slowing down is still the best thing to do.

      • ace_9

        It might seem so, but it isn’t the case. Massive car pile-ups occur mostly when there is something in front of them, that causes the series of crashes. But if everyone goes fast and no-one slides into side-rails, then everything is fine. They are just risking a lot. If I would go slowly, many people would overtake, which is dangerous when there is much more snow and ice between two lanes and the left lane is also covered with more snow than the right lane. I would be just forcing everyone to go on this bad surface. I’m usually overtaken by some people anyway. I’m not saying it’s not possible to go slowly according to conditions. It just does not have the desired effect and most people just try to overtake regardless of the risks and that’s when they usually crash. Crossing lanes on a highway with snow and ice between them is really dangerous.

        • Sébastien

          Many people would overtake? So what, just wait and adapt speed/distance…
          Nature or situation won’t adapt to us, drivers need to adjust

          • ace_9

            I’m adapting to everyone else by going faster, than I should. I only try to keep some distance in front of me, but going at safe speed is more dangerous than going too fast if the majority of drivers are not willing to slow down.

          • Sébastien

            That’s just wrong, going above your limit is recipe for disaster… Let them go faster, you’ll be glad when you pass them in the ditch

          • ace_9

            There are usually just a barriers on a highway where I’m driving. And if they would slide, then they would swipe me too. And having a car a few meters behind me in snow is also not very pleasant and I can imagine what the outcome would be if I would have to brake. I would be able to brake safely, but the car behind me would push me to the car in front of me anyway. That’s how people are driving… And that’s why I think they are stupid sheeps…

        • McFly

          Other people’s bad judgement is not your fault, and not a good reason for you to be a sheep too. Nobody is forcing anybody to overtake. Of course you can’t keep other people from taking silly risks and going so fast their vision is shorter than their breaking distance. But you can keep yourself from it.

          Works pretty well where I live, but people here know when to slow down because of snow and visibility.

          • ace_9

            Well, I can’t keep myself from taking risks, because it’s safer to go faster than allow everyone stick to my trunk or constantly being overtaken in slippery conditions. Let me just say that this winter I was literally pushed by an ambulance in during heavy snowing on and icy and snowy road in dark. The ambulance did not have it’s siren on, it was not signaling me that there is an emergency (in case if the siren was broken or I don’t know…), but it was around one or two meters behind me in that conditions. And after some time I was quite mad, so I was in full rally driver mode going around 100 km/h, which was already crazy for that conditions. But slowing down to 60 did not help, because even that idiotic ambulance driver knew that going through lane would just mean sliding and hoping for the best. That’s how people are driving here. And I don’t believe that somewhere else they are suddenly much more reasonable…

    • Sébastien

      I can understand accidents with unexpected black ice on clear weather… But here with this article 🙁
      We need self driving badly

  • Mr. EP9

    This is the second or third one this year? Is it really too much to ask for some people to slow down?

    • Mike anonymous

      To be fair the conditions for this one, seem to be less attributed to people needing to slow down, and more so to the stopping distance (given the conditions) and the visible distance ahead.

      It seems more likely that this accent was not the fault of everyone involved but rather of the ‘source accident’. To me is seems as though most drivers couldn’t see far enough ahead to stop in time (also note that some vehicle may slide on the ice even if the wheels have stopped moving). So depending on the conditions, slowing down may only do so much to prevent a pile-up such as this.

      (by the way I completely get your point, I’m not arguing against it, but rather adding to your comment/offering a separate perspective on it). I personally wish no one was hurt, but I am glad that no deaths were reported.

      • Sébastien

        In Europe, if you don’t see at 54yds(50m), you are forced to drive under 30mph (50kph)

        • ace_9

          France is not “the Europe” you know 🙂

        • LeStori

          How are you forced? Does a Police jump out out of their hiding spot and stop you? Advisory and forced are two differnt things.

          • Sébastien

            Laws do not “advise” people. They force people, now you can decide to break them if you wish so

  • TheBelltower

    It’s time for cars to be able to talk to each other. The technology exists, so why isn’t it being used? After the first wreck, 98 other cars shouldn’t get caught in it.

    • Sébastien

      Or for drivers to keep safety distance,
      Or better get rid of drivers

      • Mike anonymous

        What if you are unable to see in front of you or see beyond (or below) the safety distance?. Yes drivers should maintain a safe driving distance, but what if they can not see beyond what is in front of them?

        Depending on the conditions, you would have to drive extremely slow to have a safe stopping distance to see what is in front of you, which can be dangerous is someone behind you may be going slightly faster and can not see you.

        I personally would make a rule where if you can’t see what is in front of you, simply pull off to the side until visibility clears up again.

        • ace_9

          I don’t believe people would really pull off. They would probably slow down much more than now, but they would still go. It’s about the psychology. People having accident because of an excessive speed, usually know that they were going too fast 🙂 I bet that most of the drivers in this massive crash also knew that they cannot see beyond their braking distance.

        • Sébastien

          What if you don’t see… Increase distance, consider stopping too

          • Mike anonymous

            Yes,.. That’s basically what I just said?

            you would have to drive extremely slow” (thus increasing the possible distance because you can’t see what ‘the distance’ is), & “if you can’t see what is in front of you, simply pull off to the side until visibility clears up again” (thus pulling off to the side and stopping).

        • LeStori

          That is way too late. If you cannot see what is in front of you then those behind definitely cannot see you slowing down and attempting to move off the road. Human nature being what it is we all know that there are people travelling too fast for the conditions. Just waiting to ram you from behind. Hence the “100 car” pile up.

  • Sébastien

    And this is why pile ups happen a lot in the US.
    Clear safety distance is key, if you don’t know what’s around a blind corner you don’t come at 10 above the speed limit right?

  • Sébastien

    I didn’t say it’s everywhere in Europe, didn’t want to dig into details… Just giving an example

  • Paul

    If you’re snowblind and can’t see things clearly then you shouldn’t be going like the proverbial bat out of hell or even following very close.

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