People move to places like North Carolina to avoid the cold, snow, and ice that have buried towns like Boston this year. But North Carolina is not Key West, and even winter can still visit, if only for short periods, and cause major headaches, and worse, for drivers. Just north of Wilmington, in Spring Lake, cold weather and ice on the road is being blamed for the death of one man.
His pickup truck apparently slid into the path of a larger tanker truck, and the crash closed down the highway N.C. 87 for after the crash occurred near 8 am. The road was expected to be open by the afternoon.
According to the report, the road had black ice, which formed with water from a nearby spring. Black ice is extremely dangerous, as drivers may not have any advance warning that there is ice on the road until their vehicle is already sliding.
While pickup trucks may provide better occupant protection when colliding with a small car, they are no match for a semi-truck. Pictures of the crash showed the tremendous damage the pickup sustained.
Troublingly, the report indicates that police in the area had investigated an earlier accident and had notified the Department of Transportation regarding the slippery conditions. The DOT failed to respond and the road surface apparently remained untreated at the time of the fatal collision.
In a lawsuit, it is likely this factor could impose some amount of liability on the state for its failure to respond to this issue, given that it is very foreseeable that a vehicle crossing an area of untreated black ice could slide into oncoming traffic, as occurred in this tragic crash here.
Fayobserver.com, “Ice blamed in fatal 18-wheeler crash that killed pickup driver, shutting down N.C. 87 for hours,” Nancy McCleary, February 27, 2015