Christine and I recently went to Anhui Province near Hefei to visit a new tourist village project. On this trip we saw a huge highway accident, and I've posted some photos here.
The tourism project is interesting because it surrounds a small lake, and will have villas, apartments, a golf course, a hotel and many kinds of recreation facilities. I have a few photos here for you, two of a model of the site, one of Christine at the presentation. During the ceremony they held a lucky draw and I won a microwave oven. I was happy enough to win something, though I don't need a microwave, but that thing was heavy. And we had to lug it hundreds of meters to get to the train, and then to a taxi when in Shanghai. Next time, I'd like to win something small and light.
On our way to visit this project, we were travelling from Hefei in the morning, in quite a heavy fog, and it was apparent quite quickly that too many vehicles were travelling much to fast for the visibility conditions. It was especially worrisome because many of these were buses and heavy trucks.
Several police cars were on the road in front of us, with signs asking everyone to drive slowly because of a serious accident ahead, but when they pulled over everyone began driving too quickly again. We finally met up with the accident scene, and it extended for miles.
It was apparent what had happened. Several trucks collided in the heavy fog, and blocked the highway. And then several more crashed into the back of them. Then, 50 meters of vehicles managed to stop in time, but then there was another series of accidents totally blocking the road. And then a section of undamaged cars and trucks, and then another huge accident scene.
I left our car and walked for at least 3 miles ahead, and I couldn't see the end of that huge mess. It was just a recurring session of damage that seemed to go on forever.
And there was no place to go. We were on a limited-access toll highway with no exits nearby, and the highway was completely blocked with severely damaged trucks and buses every 50 to 100 meters. So there was no way for rescue vehicles to arrive, except on the other side of the highway, but that was separated by a large median boulevard, so no easy access. And those heavy trucks were too badly damaged to be simply pulled out of the way. They would have to be lifted out by cranes, so it was apparent that we would be there for a long time, possibly the entire day or more.
But finally the police managed to remove some sections of the center median in the road, and clear a path for at least the smaller undamaged vehicles to leave. And as we exited onto the other side of the highway I could see traffic backed up behind us for at least 5 miles, possibly 10.
And one of the strange sights was the police car that had earlier been warning us to drive slowly, was itself involved in a big crash where it ran into the back of a truck. I think it must have been days before all that mess was cleared away.
I'm told this sometimes happens on high mountain roads where fog is common and people are tempted to drive too fast. But in these cases, the highway is a simple 2-lane mountain road, and the accidents will block the entire road so there is no escape and no access. The rescue vehicles will have to begin at one end and slowly remove all damaged vehicles, permitting others to leave. And depending on the damage that can sometimes take days. I heard one story of people stuck on a mountain road for almost 3 days before they could get free.
I have posted 1 pages of photos. You can access them here: