At about 8:45 a.m. this morning, a complete whiteout occurred in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Interstate 81. The heavy snow and wind led to three multiple car collisions and at least two confirmed fatalities.
At mile marker 21, a seven vehicle crash lead to five to seven people being air lifted to surrounding hospitals. The two fatalities that have been confirmed are from this collision. The names and ages have not been released. There have been two other collisions involving about ten vehicles each in the surrounding area.
The interstate has been closed for multiple hours for clean up and investigation. An alternative route has been established on U.S. Route 11. At approximately 12:30 p.m. the southbound lanes have be reopened.
When driving in a winter storm or if you are caught in a white out, be extra cautious and aware of your surroundings. Slow your vehicle down, but do so gradually to prevent your car from sliding. Be patient and avoid crossing through traffic if possible. Increase your following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Pull off the road, preferably in a safe parking lot when visibility reaches zero. Do not stop your vehicle on any portion of the road, this causes you to become the first vehicle in a multiple vehicle pileup. When driving in the snow, always be prepared with a winter survival kit that contains blankets, warm clothes, a flashlight, flares, and a first aid kit.
If you’ve been in a collision, Manchin Injury Law Group is here to help. Contact our lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.