Smoke, wildfires cause Interstate 95 pile-ups

Smoke, wildfires cause Interstate 95 pile-ups

17 March 2013

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USA — Simultaneous crashes Sunday morning in the southbound and northbound lanes of Interstate 95 snarled traffic in both directions near Oak Hill, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

“This crash occurred after two tractor trailers stopped in the southbound lanes of I-95 due to visibility issues from smoke and fog,” said FHP Sgt. Kim Montes.

Five cars piled up on the southbound lanes about 7 a.m. when a Honda Civic, driven by Madeline Clark, 30, of Wisconsin stopped in the left lane because the semis were blocking all lanes, according to the report.

Clayton Lilly, 29, of Edgewater, hit Clark with his Mustang and suffered serious injuries.

Geoffrey Carrol, 22, of South Carolina, in turn, hit Lilly, and then hit a Toyota pickup whose driver was not fully identified. Carrol’s Nissan Altima caught fire. It hit a fifth car, a Kia driven by Robert Hovan, 65, of Port Orange as it “slowed from the impact,” and FHP report states.

“Separate crashes occurred in the northbound lanes, in the same area, minutes later,” Montes said. “One crash involved four vehicles, and the other crash involved two vehicles. Both crashes were chain-reaction crashes, and no one was injured.”

As of 10:50 a.m. Sunday, both northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 95 were reopened to traffic. The interstate was originally shut down between S.R. 44 (Exit 249) and S.R. 46 in Brevard County (Exit 223).

Troopers will continue to monitor I-95 in southern Volusia County and northern Brevard County throughout the night, Montes said.

Drivers need to use caution driving through the area, especially during the overnight hours and into the morning. Drivers can call *FHP (*347) is they see any areas with visibility issues.

The FHP offers these safety tips:

Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and actually impair visibility even more. Your lights help other drivers see your vehicle, so be sure they all work. Keep your windshield and headlights clean, to reduce the glare and increase visibility.

Slow down and watch your speedometer before you enter a patch of fog. Be sure that you can stop within the distance that you can see. Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be speeding. Speed is a major factor in fog-related crashes.

Watch for slow-moving and parked vehicles. Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window a little, to hear better.

Reduce the distractions in your vehicle. Turn off the radio and cell phone. Your full attention is required.

Use wipers and defrosters liberally for maximum visibility. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if poor visibility is due to fog or moisture on the windshield.

Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

Be patient. Avoid passing and changing lanes.

Signal turns well in advance, and brake early as you approach a stop.

Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision. If you must pull off the road, signal (people tend to follow tail lights when driving in fog), then carefully pull off as far as possible. After pulling off the road, turn on your hazard flashers (hazard lights should only be used when you pull over to show that you are parked on the side of the road). Move away from the vehicle.


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