When multiple vehicles are involved in a crash, there is a risk that there could be many injuries or deaths. These crashes very obviously increase the risk of your own injury or death if you’re involved. There are other risks, too. For example, there is a greater risk of a fire breaking out because of the more significant damage done to the vehicles. There is a risk that emergency vehicles will be blocked due to traffic or the crash itself.
If you are involved in a crash with one other vehicle, there could be a risk that another will soon be involved. For instance, if you’re on a highway when you’re hit, then other drivers in different lanes may not have time to stop or get out of the way. Similarly, if you’re hit in an intersection, a driver coming from an opposite direction, from ahead of you or from behind you may not be able to stop.
Pileup crashes are particularly hazardous to those involved because of the logistics of getting emergency care. Like mentioned above, the emergency teams may have trouble reaching the victims. Even if they don’t, the number of emergency medical teams needed may be much higher than usual, and that can place a strain on the system. Their larger vehicles may have trouble getting in and out of the area, and everyone involved could be at risk of further injuries caused by rubbernecking drivers or those who aren’t paying attention in still-moving lanes.
You can help yourself if you’re involved in a pileup. Do your best to move your vehicle out of the roadway and to get yourself and others to a safe location if they can be moved. If not, turn on your hazard lights and stay in your vehicles, buckled up.