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Slick roads cause 56-vehicle accident near Philadelphia

Icy conditions caused a 56-vehicle accident in Pennsylvania recently. In many cases, these car crashes are preventable.

A mid-January multivehicle pileup on Interstate 76 in Montgomery County resulted in at least one death and an estimated 30 injuries. According to NBC Philadelphia, 56 cars were involved in the crash, which was likely the result of icy conditions as drivers were in the middle of their morning commute.

I-76's westbound lanes were closed for about four hours after the multivehicle accident, and rescue personnel had to load injured people on a bus for transfer to local medical centers. As icy roads continued to be a problem that morning, county officials across the region urged motorists to stay off local roads and highways until conditions improved. A freezing rain advisory was in place at the time of the crash.

Preventing serious winter auto accidents

To help avoid winter weather accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that motorists take preventative steps by having vehicles serviced a month or so before winter begins. This may involve visiting a mechanic for a tune-up and having a car checked for issues like worn hoses, faulty parts, broken belts and leaks.

Another sound preventative step, according to the NHTSA, is to make sure a vehicle's windshield wiper fluid is full at all times. Heavy snow tends to cause drivers to use a lot of this fluid at once, and if they run out, it can drastically reduce visibility. Pennsylvania drivers should use no-freeze wiper fluid and keep an extra supply in their cars in case they need it at a moment's notice. Additionally, drivers should regularly check their windshield wipers and replace worn-out or malfunctioning blades immediately.

Regardless of the season, motorists should also be aware of the condition and age of their tires - especially before winter driving and long road trips. If you are unsure whether or not your tires need to be changed based on their age, check your vehicle owner's manual.

Safety tips for drivers

When behind the wheel, drivers should be comfortable with their vehicles and have the ability to tell if they are losing control. Younger motorists or those new to winter weather driving should practice on side roads before hitting streets with higher traffic. This will help you understand the differences in how your vehicle handles on snow and ice compared to normal conditions.

When winter weather is present, it's important to travel at slower speeds, as it's much more difficult to stop or change direction on ice and snow. Remain a safe distance from the car in front of you in case a quick stop becomes necessary or traffic patterns change suddenly. Also, if you need to brake, note that anti-lock brake systems require firm, steady pressure, while you should gently pump the brakes of cars without this feature.

Even the most cautious drivers may be involved in a winter weather auto accident, which may be the fault of negligent motorists, poor road maintenance, faulty vehicle parts or other factors. If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious car accident in Pennsylvania, work with an experienced Easton personal injury attorney.

Keywords: Pennsylvania, auto accident, winter