Often in the case of a car or truck accident, other drivers who may be following too closely or driving too fast for conditions, crash into the wreckage from the initial collision and create a chain reaction motor vehicle accident. In San Francisco, this often happens when drivers do not take into account fog or other whether related driving conditions that may reduce visibility or increase stopping distance.
A large pile-up occurred in California earlier this week involved seven semi trucks. While any sort of chain reaction accident is dangerous, one involving this many vehicles, and the fact that they were all large trucks, can create the risk for substantial damage and injury. It is not hard to image the likely outcome for a small family sedan if had been caught in the middle of seven crashing semi trucks. Fortunately only minor injuries were reported as a result of this particular crash.
According to officials from the California Highway Patrol, it all started when the driver of a tanker truck, that was travelling too fast for the wet conditions, lost control of his vehicle. The semi swerved and ran into another truck before plowing up an embankment and overturning. Another truck was forced off the road onto the shoulder, while yet another truck tried to slow down rapidly and jackknifed across the interstate blocking the lanes and resulting in another string of crashes.
Some of the tanker trucks involved were carrying potentially hazardous materials including fuel and chemicals, but fortunately none of the tanks ruptured during the accident.
Source: Sacramento Bee "Multiple big rigs collide on I-5 near Los Angeles," Dec. 13, 2011