Deadly Crash on PA Turnpike

Deadly Crash on PA Turnpike

As many know, there was a deadly crash that occurred on the Pennsylvania turnpike on January 5, 2020 around 3:30 am. According to news reports, the driver of a charter bus lost control of the vehicle on the Turnpike, struck a concrete barrier, swerved up an embankment and then rolled into traffic causing additional destruction. The bus had started its journey in Flushing, NY and was headed toward New Stanton, PA at the time of the crash. As a result of the deadly crash, a large portion of the turnpike was shut down for hours. It has been reported that at least five individuals were killed as a result of the crash and more than fifty were injured. These numbers do not include merely the passengers of the bus, but also, individuals who were in several other vehicles that were involved in the collision.

This crash is clearly a tragedy for all involved as well as the family and friends of those injured or killed. While it has been reported that it will be some time before the investigation into the cause of the crash is determined, there are several takeaways from this deadly collision.

1. Drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times.

As is referred to as “defensive driving,” drivers should be able to utilize safe driving strategies to enable the same to address hazards in a predictable manner. While a collision such as that that occurred on the PA turnpike is something unpredictable, being able to quickly interpret what is happening and how to react on the roadway is an important skill for motorists to learn. This leads to takeaway number 2 – do not drive distracted.

2. Drivers should limit all distractions while operating a motor vehicle

Distracted driving is essentially any activity that takes a motorist’s attention away while driving – texting, looking at social media, snap chatting, talking on the phone or using navigation apps or the radio. If you are not focusing on the road, you are not able to take into consideration what is going on around you and ultimately, cannot timely react to any situation that arises.

3. Make sure your vehicle is a safe distance away from others

The two second rule is a rule of thumb used by many to know that they are at a safe following distance when operating their vehicle. The rule is that a driver should ideally stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of the driver’s vehicle . While each driving scenario is unique, it is imperative that you are not following too close to other vehicles.

4. Determine whether you can safely drive during the current or anticipated weather conditions

It is true that some people are better than others when driving under certain weather conditions – whether that be fog, mist, rain, snow, etc. If you know that you get anxious when driving under these conditions and question your ability to do so – try and make alternative arrangements to get around.  If your vehicle is not properly equipped to handle the weather conditions on the road or anticipated weather conditions, think again about leaving the house unless it is absolutely necessary. We all have a responsibility to other drivers and should consider this before getting in the driver’s seat.

5. Always wear your seat belt

This tip speaks for itself – wearing a seat belt can be the difference between life and death or serious v. minimal injury. Always wear your seat belt in a vehicle.


What can we learn from this tragedy? Erica Conti explains.