All car accidents are dangerous, but pile-ups are about as dangerous and terrifying as they come. Drivers are responsible for observing all the rules of the road and for driving safely in relation to the road’s condition and the traffic on it. Pile-ups are often caused by forward-driver negligence and distracted or speeding rear drivers who fail to respond safely to the accident ahead. If you’ve been injured in a pile-up as a result of someone else’s negligence, consult with an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney today.

Pile-Up in Texas

In early February, Texas was hit hard by a winter storm that led to a pile-up for the ages. According to the Dallas Morning News, the many-car accident was precipitated by icy roads. The final result was more than 100 vehicles in a messy tangle that resulted in 6 traffic deaths and dozens of hospitalizations. The accident happened on two toll lanes that were bracketed by concrete barriers that left those vehicles inside it with little wiggle room once the pile-up got started. The following number (in terms of response) helps illustrate exactly how immense the accident was:

  • 13 ambulances
  • 26 fire department vehicles
  • 80 police cars

Pile-ups are incredibly dangerous accidents that can quickly snowball into massive devastation, as evidenced by this accident in Dallas–Fort Worth.

Distracted Driving

One of the most common contributors to pile-ups is distracted driving. The only way to drive safely is to drive as distraction-free as possible. Motorist’s full attention should be trained on the road ahead and on traveling safely over it. When a motorist allows anything to distract them from this important task, dangerous accidents, including pile-ups, can happen.

While distractions come in every manner and form, the most dangerous distraction of all is texting (and other forms of smartphone interaction). The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, when a motorist spends the 5 seconds that it takes on average to write or read a text, their eyes leave the road for about the distance of a football field (at highway speeds), and that’s more than enough inattention to cause a life-threatening pile-up on the road. 

Excess Speed

Excess speed plays far too pivotal a role in far too many deadly traffic accidents, including pile-ups. In fact, excess speed makes accidents not only more likely to happen but also makes them that much more likely to be deadly. When motorists drive too fast, they don’t have as much time to react safely to whatever’s ahead. If what’s ahead is an unexpected accident in the road, rear drivers who are speeding are far more likely to make the accident a pile-up (and trap other motorists in the tangled mess). Further, driving at a safe speed is not only a function of adhering to the speed limit but also relates to driving at a safe speed in relation to what’s happening on the road. There are a variety of reasons that require motorists to slow down in order to proceed at a safe speed.

Bad Weather

Rain, sleet, snow, and ice all make our roads far more slippery and require far greater stopping distances. The massive pile-up in Texas is a great example of just how dangerous damp, icy roads can be.

Heavy or Unpredictable Traffic

Yes, we all want to get where we are going, but when traffic is especially heavy or seems unpredictable, it is always in your best interest to slow down. Providing yourself that extra time to react and slow down to an unexpected obstacle in the road can mean the difference between avoiding a pile-up and not being able to avoid one.

Impediments to a Clear View

Many factors can impede a motorist’s clear view of the road ahead, and they all require slowing down. For example, fog can significantly decrease visibility, but so too can bright sunlight, night vision (especially on roads with little lighting), and more. If you can’t see a clear path forward, you should reduce your speed for safety.

Poorly Maintained Roads

Roads that are poorly maintained can exhibit dangerous signs of wear and tear, including potholes, crumbling shoulders, and more. Driving at a safe speed involves factoring in the condition of the road upon which you are driving.


Many people are under the mistaken belief that pile-ups are always caused by the front vehicle, but this is far from the end of the story. There are many reasons why a car might need to stop unexpectedly on the road, and just a few examples include an animal, dropped load, or accident ahead. Motorists aren’t guaranteed safe conditions ahead, and because so many variables are involved, our roads are unpredictable at best.

Pile-Up Caused by Forward Driver

If a forward driver negligently causes an accident and the motorists behind (who were traveling at a safe distance for the speed involved) pile into them because they have no other recourse, liability may be reserved for that forward driver.

Pile-Up Caused by Rear Driver

If a forward driver comes to an unexpected stop on the road because of an accident ahead, and a rear driver who is traveling at too great a speed or who is distracted plows into the forward driver (possibly pushing them into the other accident), the rear driver may be solely responsible, or the rear driver may share responsibility with the motorist responsible for the original accident (depending upon the situation). Sometimes, drivers in the middle are also liable.

Call an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today

Pile-ups are some of the most dangerous accidents on our roads. If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in one, the trusted car accident attorneys at McCravy Law in South Carolina have the experience, legal insight, and commitment to help. In fact, we’ve been successfully guiding claims like yours toward favorable resolutions for more than 25 years. For more information about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 864-388-9100 or contact us online today.