7 dead and 51 injured in one of Britain's 'worst ever' motorway crashes

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/11/04/m5-crash-several-killed-and-30-injured-in-one-of-britain-s-worst-ever-motorway-crashes-115875-23538838 /
Several people were killed and dozens of others injured following a horrific motorway pile-up which triggered a "massive fireball" on the carriageway.
Around 27 vehicles, including a number of articulated lorries, were involved in the devastating crash, described by emergency workers as "the worst road traffic collision anyone can remember".
Avon and Somerset Police said "some" people lost their lives and around 51 people were injured in the tragedy, which happened in wet and foggy conditions on the M5 in Somerset last night.
Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said a number of passengers were unable to escape from their burning cars, some of which were razed to the ground.
"At around 8.25pm yesterday there was a multiple collision around junction 25 of the northbound carriageway of the M5," he said.
"This involved a large number of cars and also articulated lorries and up to about 27 vehicles in total.
"The accident resulted in a large number of casualties.
"Up to 35 people were injured - some of those seriously - and tragically a number have lost their lives as a result."
The officer continued: "The emergency services have been working tirelessly. The incident was very, very challenging and on arrival crews were faced with literally one massive fireball.
"Most vehicles were well alight and most continued to burn for a considerable time. This made it very difficult to search the vehicles. Some of them have been burned to the ground."
A huge taskforce of police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the stricken stretch of the M5, which was immediately closed off in both directions and remains shut.
Firefighters who scrambled around 15 appliances to the scene battled to rescue motorists by cutting people from cars and lorries using hydraulic equipment. Television footage also showed motorists trying to pry open vehicle doors in a bid to rescue those trapped.
The devastating road accident is believed to be one of the worst in the UK for 20 years.
Paul Slaven, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service told the BBC: "This is the worst road traffic collision anyone can remember... so many vehicles involved."
Edmund King, president of the AA, said the scale of the crash was similar to one on the M4 near Hungerford in Berkshire in 1991.
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rec.autos.driving is a more appropriate group for your new interest in the operation of motor vehicles. http://groups.google.com/group/rec.autos.driving/topics?hl=en -----
- gpsman
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On 11/5/2011 9:33 AM, Home Guy wrote:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/11/04/m5-crash-several-killed-and-30-injured-in-one-of-britain-s-worst-ever-motorway-crashes-115875-23538838 /
Misplaced but of interest to me having been involved in an accident leaving a motorway years ago. I knew their speed limits were high but I think even higher at the time:
http://www.smartdriving.co.uk/Driving/DefensiveDriving/Speed/UK_Speed_limits.html
We were towed to a yard near the motorway full of wrecks which I assumed happened mostly on the motorway.
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On Sat, 05 Nov 2011 10:15:06 -0400, Frank

This reminds me of the question, perhaps asked mostly in America, Why do people drive on parkways and park on driveways.
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Simple answer: if you do it the other way, you get arrested.
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On Sat, 05 Nov 2011 10:15:06 -0400, Frank wrote:

It's been 70mph on motorways for as long as I can remember, although 80 became a sort of "informal limit" in recent decades (above that you're into the sort of territory where a cop will think about pulling you over, but people travelling at 90mph isn't a rare thing). 60mph is typical on roads outside urban areas - but don't forget that UK roads are generally very well lit and signed in comparison to the US.
I remember there being quite a few "big" motorway accidents back in the '80s (usually caused by fog) - and *many* times where despite the conditions people would *still* insist on trying to drive at 70; it wasn't the limit that was the problem, but peoples' interpretation of what was safe at a given moment in time.

Yes, motorway service stations often had a kind of 'staging area' for vehicles which had been involved in crashes - I don't know if that's still the case (I don't remember seeing one for years). I assume vehicles were placed there before being taken away by owners / junkyards / crash investigators.
cheers
Jules
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On Sat, 05 Nov 2011 20:03:12 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

IIRC, they used to be that or higher in TX. The only reason interstate limits are not higher is fuel economy, as in the 55 limit years ago. The roads were built to handle higher speeds in the 50's and 60's and the cars of today handle much better. Exceptions of course, in some congested areas where a lower limit makes sense.
In Italy, the Autostrade is 130 kph or 81 mph. There was a higher compliance rate with the limit than I see here. The drivers were driving too, not eating a burger and talking on the phone. There are also a lot of speed cameras, but they are marked in advance.
Their secondary roads also seem to have sensible speed limits too. The solid line in the center though, is a joke. Lots of passing on curves and hills.
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