Deadly Storm Creates Hazardous Conditions for Motorists in Northeast



Petrillo & Goldberg Law

Petrillo & Goldberg Law

Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) February 6, 2015 – Black ice is being blamed for fatalities, multi-vehicle crashes and roadway closures throughout the region.

In what may have been one of the most severely traffic-disruptive storms to hit the Northeast this winter, freezing rain paralyzed highways and bridges from Maryland to Connecticut on January 18. The storm has been blamed for five deaths in the region. 

But while the misery the storm generated for commuters was well-distributed throughout the region, storm-related fatalities fell heavily on the Philadelphia metropolitan area, where three people died.

The freezing rain and ensuing deceptive, slippery ice spread through the Northeast on a Sunday, fortunately prior to the more heavily trafficked work week, when the roadway tie-ups could have been worse. Nonetheless, people who did have to drive to work, as well as those heading to church, shopping and other Sunday morning activities suddenly found themselves negotiating treacherous road conditions.

In New Haven, Connecticut, an 88-year-old woman driving in slippery conditions died when her vehicle struck a utility pole. Meanwhile, in northeastern Pennsylvania, a man was killed when he was struck by a commercial vehicle after being flung from a car he was driving on an icy road. Air hubs, such as Hartford’s Bradley International Airport, were temporarily shut down. Roads and bridges throughout the region, including the Outerbridge Crossing and the Bayonne and Goethals bridges (which link New Jersey and Staten Island, New York) were also temporarily closed.

The black ice triggered hundreds of crashes throughout the region, including more than 400 in New Jersey alone. But perhaps the worst pileups occurred in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, where a crash involving 30 to 50 vehicles on Interstate 76 outside the city resulted in one death, and another multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 476 claimed the lives of two more people.

“These flash-freeze-type storms are among the most hazardous for motorists, because drivers quickly find themselves in slippery conditions before they have an opportunity to avoid a crash,” said Steven Petrillo, a prominent attorney in Pennsauken, New Jersey, whose firm specializes in automobile accident law. “And these storms create the conditions for a complex liability mess when multi-vehicle pileups ensue.”

Northeastern officials, especially those in the Philadelphia area, deemed conditions particularly perilous on bridges, which generally freeze before roads do. The Delaware River Port Authority closed all four spans linking Philadelphia and New Jersey to afford time for treatment.

“Authorities must act quickly with respect to all highway safety, but especially so with respect to bridges. Not only are they more vulnerable to severe storms, they are critical traffic choke-points,” Petrillo said. “One can never act prudently and swiftly enough when it comes to highway safety.”

Learn more at Petrillo & Goldberg Law 6951 North Park Drive Pennsauken, NJ 08109 1333 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 70 South Broad Street Woodbury, NJ 08096 Phone: 856-486-4343 Fax: 856:486-7979