Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fog-related accidents on I-90

What a terrible series of accidents today on I-90 just east of Madison. If you didn't already know, two separate accidents (one eastbound, one westbound) led to pile-ups of 30+ vehicles and at least two deaths. It was reminiscent of about five years ago when there was a multi-car pile-up on I-43 between Beloit and Milwaukee. In this case, there were many other troubling factors that I think could've helped the situation.

1) Lack of communications. I was lucky to just catch a two-second blurb on the radio about the accident and the road closure at about 7 p.m. For a full hour afterward, I flipped through all the radio stations waiting to hear another announcement, but I didn't get anything until I was all the way home. In extreme situations like this, there should be radio announcements every 15 minutes to warn drivers to avoid the area.

2) No signage. I realize the state patrol was busy, but they should have put digital traffic signs before the area telling traffic to exit the Interstate early.

3) Bad drivers. I drove from Madison to Milwaukee at noon, and I cannot believe how many people either didn't have their lights on or used just their parking lights in the fog. Also, too many people were tailgating, and the over-cautious drivers were also screwing things up by breaking too often and fluxuating speeds too much. In fact, bad driving was what led to the accidents, as people were too eager to break, and then a semi that was following too close smashed into them.

4) Meteorologists. I know I always bash them, but jeez, they predicted the fog would end at noon (that's not even close!). Now, they have extended the dense fog advisory until Monday morning. So they were "only" off by 24 hours?!

I wish speedy recovery to all the people involved in the accidents.

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