June 1, 2012

More than one driver apparently missed the signs for road construction on Interstate 5 earlier this week. In one accident, an Oregon man was headed north on Interstate 5 when he rear-ended a tractor trailer. His vehicle burst into flames. Almost simultaneously, a pickup on the southbound side of the highway approached stalled traffic too quickly; the driver swerved, and the truck rolled.

The crash proved fatal for the Oregon man. State troopers say he likely died instantly when the U-Haul he was driving slammed into the semi. The driver of the pickup sustained minor injuries.

Troopers weren’t done for the evening, though. A few hours later, three tractor trailers crashed at the same construction site. One driver failed to slow down for stalled traffic and rear-ended another semi. Both drivers attempted to avoid an accident but swerved in the same direction instead. The two truck crashed into each other and a third tractor trailer.

The extent of the drivers’ injuries isn’t clear. Troopers did say that one truck caught fire, and the driver suffered severe burns to as much as 75 percent of his body when he couldn’t escape.

What troopers find both surprising and disturbing is that the repaving project is well-marked. There are signs on both the northbound and southbound sides of the highway “for miles and miles and miles,” one officer said. Still, drivers just don’t pay attention.

The summer months usually see an increase in the number of construction projects on interstates, state highways and city streets. Drivers should always be alert to their surroundings, but they should take special note of warning signs for road construction. Traffic can slow unexpectedly, and cars and trucks that are going too fast won’t have enough reaction time.

Drivers, their passengers and the construction workers are all at risk in these situations.

Source: KPIC, “Oregon man dies in crash in I-5 construction zone,” June 19, 2012


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