Survival guide: What to do if you find yourself in a multi-car p - FOX Carolina 21

Survival guide: What to do if you find yourself in a multi-car pileup

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: Iowa DOT via CNN Wire) (Photo: Iowa DOT via CNN Wire)

(Meredith) – When we’re in the safety of our homes, snow can be a beautiful and calming occurrence. But when we’re behind the wheel, snow and ice turn deadly.

A video (posted above) from the Iowa Department of Transportation shows a massive 70-car pileup on Interstate 35 near Ames, Iowa, on Monday. It’s a clear example of how quickly one accident can become the first of many dominoes to fall, each creating a more hazardous and life-threatening situation for drivers on the road.

So, if you find yourself in a situation like this, what should you do? Should you stay where your car stops? Should you try to pull onto the shoulder of the road?

Here are a few tips on what you should do if you find yourself caught in a dangerous winter pileup.

What should I do with my car?

  • Move your car to a safe place, if you can, and make sure it’s out of the way of other vehicles.

Call the authorities

  • Call the police and 911.
  • Make sure you know where you are. Look at the nearest mile marker for a more exact location. 

While you’re waiting for police:

  • Stay calm
  • Don’t place blame on anyone
  • Evaluate your situation

When police and EMTs arrive

  • Only speak to authorities about the accident.
  • Make sure you get medical attention if you are injured.
  • Also, be sure to file a police report. This piece of documentation will be a great resource in the future for any claims you might have to make.

Pictures and video

Using your phone to capture evidence of what happened could help your case with police and your insurance provider. Be sure to take pictures of:

  • Your injuries
  • The damage to your car
  • The accident scene itself
  • Poor road conditions (if any exist, like covered warning signs, icy roads, etc.)

The other drivers

Be sure to get information from other drivers. You should obtain their:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers- if possible, get a picture of their license
  • License plate number and state
  • Insurance information
  • Contact information for other witnesses

NOTE: You should avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company. That should be left to your insurance company or an attorney you hire.

Insurance: Who’s responsible?

Icy pileups can involve miles and miles of road and hundreds of cars, making them one of the deadliest situations any driver can encounter. But who gets the blame when there are dozens of cars involved in the same accident?

According to, you are almost always responsible for the damage you cause to the car right in front of you.

If police can’t figure out who is to blame, that won’t excuse you from possibly getting a ticket. reported that in 2012, there was a 47-car crash in Florida and 19 drivers were given tickets in the accident because drivers are responsible for adjusting speed and the distance between them and the cars in front of them.

In cases of pileups, usually, drivers are on their own. If you want your car fixed quickly, you should make a claim on your own collision coverage. This is because your insurance company will pay the claim, then contact other insurance companies if they feel you aren’t to blame.

But be sure to file quickly. If your claim is in first, you’ll be at the top of the payout list. If you don’t, you might have to foot the bill to repair your own car or go to court to get money for the damages.


Information for this article was provided by and Edgar Snyder.

Copyright 2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Popular Stories
Powered by Frankly
Fox Carolina
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WHNS; Greenville, SC. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.