A deadly accident occurred on Interstate 10 in Hidalgo County in southwestern New Mexico last Thursday, engulfing six vehicles in flames, and killing seven people. According to a report by Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT 7, the accident was caused in part by a dust storm, which is a relatively common phenomenon around the highways in that part of the state. It appears that a car in front of the other vehicles entered the dust storm, which resulted in a near total loss of visibility, and slowed down substantially or came to a stop. Because of the poor visibility, the following cars crashed into the front vehicle at nearly full speed. Three of the following vehicles were semi-trucks, and the crash caused several explosions, setting six of the eight vehicles involved on fire.
The Dangers of Dust Storms in New Mexico
Many parts of New Mexico commonly have dust storms. When the storms move over roads and highways, driving can be incredibly dangerous. In this situation, a car that entered the dust storm slowed down considerably in a short period of time, and the following cars were unable to stop on time after seeing the vehicle in front of them. A chain reaction occurs as cars even farther behind are unable to stop. There are warning signs along I-10 and other roads where the storms are common in the state, but drivers repeatedly fail to prevent accidents when an unexpected dust storm blows over a highway.
What to Do When Driving into a Dust Storm
When driving New Mexico roads at freeway speeds, dust storms often are not noticeable until a few seconds before a driver enters into the storm. Authorities urge drivers not to slow down too much when entering a storm, and to maintain near highway speeds through the storm, which are usually between 30 yards and a mile long. It is also important for drivers to leave extra distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, in case an accident occurs ahead out of a driver’s vision. Recently, some auto companies have even released models with radar assisted systems that can notify a driver of accidents up ahead. In all cases, extreme caution must be exercised when driving through a dust storm. If a driver must stop, they should pull over as far away from the travel lanes to account for vehicles that may be traveling full speed behind them. Sadly, many drivers do not follow this protocol, and tragic accidents and deaths result.
Have You Been in an Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident, the experienced New Mexico accident attorneys at The Fine Law Firm want to hear about your case. Our dedicated lawyers handle all types of personal injury cases, including auto accidents that are caused by dust storms and involve semi-trucks. We know New Mexico law, and have the skill that is needed to get you the settlement or award that you deserve. It won’t cost you anything to talk to us about your case, call today at (505)889-3463 or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Semi-Truck Rear-Ends Car in Horrible Wreck, Two People Tragically Killed, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, May 20, 2014.
New Mexico’s Recent Oil Boom Increases Risk of Semi-Truck Accidents on Rural Roads., New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, May 13, 2014.