A tractor-trailer accident involving two cars shut down the Interstate 495 outer loop between Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland Monday morning. All lanes of the Outer Loop of the Beltway were closed after Route 29 in Maryland because of the crash that led to a major fuel spill. All of the lanes reopened by about 7:10 a.m.
Just before 2 a.m., a Maryland state trooper and a car that was pulled over were swiped by an Old Dominion Freight Line truck, which then jack-knifed, spilling a large amount of fuel on the Beltway. Hazmat officials spent hours cleaning up the spilled fuel.
Police say no one was seriously injured in the crash.
Driving at night creates a different set of problems for drivers. Driving at night is more hazardous and difficult than daytime driving, making it more difficult to judge distance and the traveling speed of other vehicles. You can see only as far as your headlights allow. Risks increase at night due to visibility problems, which make it difficult to clearly see the path of travel and determine the actions of other drivers.
Below are some simple suggestions to follow when driving at night:
- make sure to use your headlights and follow the suggestions for when to use high beams;
- when approaching oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, do not stare into the vehicle's headlights, as this will impair your ability to see. Instead, keep your eyes focused on the road in front of you, or slightly to the right of the lane you are traveling in (i.e. the right edge of your lane or the edge of the road);
- increase your following distance. This will help prevent a collision in the event the vehicle in front of you needs to stop quickly.
Knowing when and how to use your headlights is critical for safe driving. Headlights are not only used by drivers to help them see in low visibility situations, they are also helpful in identifying your vehicle to oncoming traffic. In Maryland, when driving, you must turn on your headlights anytime there is not enough light to clearly see at least 1,000 feet ahead of your vehicle. Key times to use headlights are night time, foggy conditions and stormy weather. Maryland law requires that you turn on your headlights when you are using your windshield wipers in inclement weather.