Winter Weather Blamed For Interstate 81 Crash

Two people died and many others were hurt after a pile-up involving 49 cars that police are blaming on the weather.

Credit: Eastern Panhandle Working Fires

BERKELEY COUNTY, W. Va. (WHSV) -- Two people died and many others were hurt after a pile-up involving 49 cars that police are blaming on the weather.

Police say heavy snow and strong winds created a snow squall, which led to the crash.

This all took place between mile markers 20 and 23 on Interstate 81in Berkeley County.

Virginia State Police said although big pileups, like the one in West Virginia, are not all that common, the daily change in temperature makes this time of year a dangerous time to be on the roads.

Trooper Tim Simmons with the Virginia State Police said he typically sees an increase in accidents occur in places he calls hot spots. In other words, areas in higher elevation with lots of shading. He said in these areas, freezing occurs faster and can catch people off guard. That's when you'd want to downshift gears and be prepared for skidding or sliding.

Simmons says these hots pots will continue to be dangerous as we move into spring.

"I think the reason this winter has been a little bit more dangerous than the previous winters is because the temperature change is significant. One day we have summer like weather and the next day we have winter weather. So... I think it is really catching people off guard," said Simmons.

Simmons also said it is important to make sure your tires have good tread, which will not only help avoid black ice, but also hydroplaning that could occur during the spring.


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