Trailer Talk

It's Snowing, Folks. Slow Down!

High speed plus slippery pavement equals a big crash, all caught on video.

November 12, 2014

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Drivers, slow down, especially when it’s snowing! That’s the best advice that can come from that video out of Minnesota aired on Tuesday, Nov. 11. It shows a tractor-trailer skidding into parked emergency vehicles on snow-covered Interstate 94 in Rogers, near Minneapolis-St. Paul. This was during the big snow storm that barreled across western Canadian provinces and northern states on Monday.

News reports say that on Monday night, a Rogers Police SUV, a Minnesota State Patrol squad car and a tow truck were attending to a previously jackknifed semi. All had their lights flashing, and 200 yards up the road, another squad car was warning drivers of the situation ahead – and its dash cam recorded the collision that happened next. All those flashing lights couldn't stop the second semi before it smashed into two of the vehicles, slightly injuring a police officer and state trooper.

The officer, Jared Peterson, suffered bumps and bruises, but will be fine – surprising when you see the video of the crash, says the report on KMSP-TV’s website. The trooper hit by the semi was not seriously injured.

“He remembers hearing the semi truck's horn, and then there was an explosion,” said Rogers Police Chief Jeffrey Beahen of his officer. “He actually was stunned and got out of his car and got out on to the highway. I don't think he really knew what was going on for a few seconds.”

Chief Beahen said way too many drivers were going way too fast for the conditions Monday -- many at freeway speeds. The chief said even after the impact, other semis were "threading the needle" between the two jackknifed semis, and doing that at 55 to 60 mph.

Anti-lock braking systems, which the tractor and probably the trailer had, don’t work too well on snow- and ice-covered pavement, as the video shows. That’s why cutting speed is so important. Everybody knows it, but too few do it and I’m as guilty as anyone on this. At least the semi’s driver, whoever he was, blew his air horn to warn that he was a-comin'.



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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.


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