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by Brett Davis

In what has been described as one of the biggest motorway accidents ever seen, seven people lost their lives in a massive 34-car pile-up in the UK on Friday.

(Image courtesy SWNS.com)

The crash, which took place on the M5 motorway in Somerset, involved an unbelievable 34 cars. Looking a little like the aftermath of a major NASCAR accident, up to 51 motorists were injured.

According to reports, the accident was caused by extreme fog and black smoke which hindered visibility for drivers. This caused a huge pile-up of cars, some of which burst into flames. Large trucks were also caught up in the crash, jack-knifing across all lanes of the motorway.

The jack-knifed trucks caused a giant trap, catching cars as they reluctantly drove into the chaos. Despite emergency crews reaching the extraordinary scene in good time, seven motorists lost their lives in the accident.

It’s understood that during celebrations of a football game in close proximity to the accident, fireworks were set off. British authorities are now investigating the cause of the accident, and the possibility of the fireworks display contributing to the low-visibility.

Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said in a Daily Mail report,

“What I am now able to say this afternoon is that our main line of inquiry has now moved towards the event that was on the side of the carriageway.

“We do believe that while there was fog and it was difficult conditions in the area, that actually from witness evidence there was very significant smoke across the carriageway that in effect caused a bank similar to a fog bank, which was very distracting and very difficult to drive through.”

Investigations are still underway.

  • greenroom

    In my opinion this is an inappropriate forum to post this tragic story. Thanks.

    • JP

      How so?

      This is a motoring website, this is a motoring story. It does not make light of this tragic accident and serves as a reminder to us all that safety is key, and something like this could easily occur anywhere.

      RIP to those who lost their lives.

      • greenroom

        I can understand there being the story printed, don’t think photos are required is all. Agree, it is a motoring website and its about motoring, but If I was the editor, I wouldn’t have published this photo on this forum.

        • CRS200

          Get over it greenroom, are you offended by the images?

          It’s very sad that these things happen, but if this simple news post helps alert authorities and drivers to situations that may occurred in the future and learn from it, it’s a good thing.

          Please let’s stop being conservative please, even a nipple offends Aussies these day’s, get over it.

  • Gianni

    Stories differ. Yahoo said it was due to fireworks.

  • Torque

    I read elsewhere it was caused by a a Reliant Robin being cut off by a Scammel Scarab.

    • dadar

      WOW. Talk about inappropriate commenting… TCHHH.

      • Torque

        Cool I am leading the redscore, -31 is lame.

  • UniversityOfGoogle

    This almost happened on the Sydney Harbour Bridge last Friday.


  • David

    I never knew they had TNT in the UK too…

    • Damian

      TNT was an Australian company that had expanded overseas however in the 1990s it was bought out by a Dutch company. Hence, TNT today is an International company headquartered in Europe. Another Australian brand bought out by overseas interests.

  • Dave

    What a disaster… May all the injured recover and may the deceased rest in peace…

  • Mark


  • nickdl

    Imagine if there was a speed camera, everyone would have been saved…

    But in all seriousness (no offence intended towards the victims) RIP.

    However I do kind of wonder whether everyone was still travelling at 70+mph when there was “thick fog and smoke” on the roads? If so, this should really be a lesson to slow down when the conditions are not good.

    • Troutman

      Perhaps variable speed limit signs could be used, but there is still margin for error if the conditions deteriorate suddenly and the highest speed limit is still displayed. Driver education about distance to car in front and slowing down in poor conditions would be a better option – something which applies to pretty much every country, not just England.

      • Vidahlla

        I think variable speed limits are crucial in road safety and it’s something I think the government is doing right to an extent, I’m seeing quite a few in the Brisbane area.

        There’s an issue with people not slowing down when conditions turn for the worse. “The sign says 100 so I’m doing 100″ is often the case. With modern cars 100, 120 or 80 it all feels the same inside the car. The truth is it isn’t when you’re trying to avoid hitting something.

  • save it for the track

    Was this motorway subject to the new raised speed limit? It’s a matter of time until something like this happens on one of our freeways with the tailgating that goes on. All too many people have no concept of a safe following distance, or the commonsense to back off when there is fog or smoke.
    These are the unfortunate consequences.

    • nickdl

      I didn’t think the raised limit had come into effect in the UK yet. The policy might be scrapped after this. But the new limit wouldn’t have much to do with the cause of this – people drive 10mph above the limit on motorways all the time in the UK.

  • http://auto-insurance-research.com Seb

    They are now reporting, the fireworks my have been the cause of the smog.

  • Acfsambo

    RIP or a quick recovery to those involved.

    Hope there is no knee jerk reaction by the British government.

  • save it for the track

    I’ve seen first hand that many drive a lot more than 10 MPH above the limit. I’ve seen other photo’s of this on the net and seems it’s after a sweeping bend. Combination of many exceeding the speed limit and reduced visibility equals carnage.

    • Thrillhouse

      Rubbish. How do you know they were all exceeding the speed limit? What was the speed limit? Are you involved in the investigation? Tow the company line on you own time, Mr. Plod.

  • Leaner

    3 second rule

  • toxic_horse

    Everyone is quick to harp on about the fantastic speed limits and roads in Europe. But this is what happens when it all goes wrong.

  • Leaner

    Everyone is quick to harp on about the fantastic cars in Europe too

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1715760895 Charles Dean

    It would help to make a major highway more then 3 lanes..

    Having been to California, 9 lane highways are seriously safer and easier to drive on..

  • Lauren Collins

    omg how the hell i hope you all rlp xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx form ;lauren collins go to the malling school

  • Lauren Collins

    sorry about all your dealths and i wish i was there to stop it !!!!!!