Local News

Lanes reopen on I-540, I-40 after wrecks

Posted April 5, 2011

— Drivers on Interstates 540 and 40 faced more than just weather-related delays Tuesday morning.

A four-vehicle wreck on I-540 caused lanes to be closed between Glenwood Avenue and Leesville Road for much of the day, Raleigh police said. 

Emergency crews took four people to a nearby hospital, one of whom was in critical condition, police said.

Two cars heading east ran into each other. One of those cars then crossed the median and hit two westbound cars before slamming into the guardrail, police said.

Westbound lanes were reopened by 10:30 a.m. and eastbound lanes reopened to traffic around 3 p.m. 

For much of the day, eastbound travelers on Interstate 40 found four of five lanes closed near the merger with I-540 in eastern Durham County after a tanker truck overturned.

All lanes on I-40 reopened at 3:30 p.m. 

Authorities said the tanker overturned while trying to avoid a two vehicle wreck on I-40. The driver of the tanker was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. 

Slick roads also played a part in a Tuesday morning wreck on Tryon Road in Raleigh. According to police, a vehicle crossed the center line of the road and struck a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. The impact sent both vehicles off of the road. The first vehicle ended up hydroplaning and hitting a utility pole, splitting it in half. 

The driver of the first vehicle, Bradley McLean Young, 23, of 1921 Wolf Tech Lane, Apartment 303, was impaired on a combination of alcohol and medications, according to a wreck report. Young was charged with DWI, driving left of center and traveling with unsafe tires. 


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  • edwarduecu Apr 7, 2011

    First of all, NO ONE IS EXPECTING or ASKING the already moving highway traffic to slow down to make a spot for incoming/merging traffic. Thats incredibly dangerous, and downright stupid. Why dont you ignorant people dig up a copy of the driver's manual available at DMV, and see that, The proper thing to do, is to MOVE OVER a lane, so as to allow merging traffic to enter the highway. I get so tired of rude drivers, that somehow think I'm suppossed to yield, when the highway and other lanes are otherwise clear, and theyre perfectly capable of moving over. This whole redneck, nascar attitude of not letting someone in, cuz you might loose pole position, is simply idiotic and needs to stop. I am in many near miss wrecks everyday, thanks to inconsiderate people that must have gotten their license from a crackerjacks box, or walmart!

  • abylelab -BT- Apr 6, 2011

    From the American Safety Council: "All drivers have a responsibility to adjust their speed in order to allow gaps for merging traffic."

    Even though no one has pointed to a specific law or code, if you intentionally create a hazardous situation on the roadway, you will be at fault.

  • mpheels Apr 6, 2011

    Yes, traffic entering the highway is supposed to yield, and existing traffic should not have to adjust their speed, but that is also dependent on existing traffic in the right lane going no faster than the speed limit and maintaining appropriate following distance so merging traffic fit it. Driving on highways requires a little give and take from everyone.

  • btneast Apr 6, 2011

    "Whoever merges on has to yield."

    I'm pretty sure that's false. If there is a "merge" warning sign, it means you have to work together to merge.

    Nope, the onus is on the merging traffic to fit in, not on the existing traffic to make a space. What verbage I could find clearly states that existing traffic should not have to decelerate to admit merging in traffic. The on ramp evolves into an "acceleration lane", so that one can come up to existing traffic speed to merge easily.

  • abylelab -BT- Apr 6, 2011

    "Whoever merges on has to yield."

    I'm pretty sure that's false. If there is a "merge" warning sign, it means you have to work together to merge. If there is a yield sign, then of course that traffic must yield.

    If the "merging" traffic ALWAYS has to yield, then who has the right of way in on/off ramp interchanges like the exit for 440/1 where there's an on ramp at the off ramp?

  • aim1999 Apr 6, 2011

    Whether you like or not this attitude is the law. Whoever merges on has to yield. If someone slows down to let someone on they make it dangerous for the rest of the people on the highway. Most on ramps are long enough to find a spot to fit in, and this is a highway so people shouldn't try getting on while going 45MPH.

  • snowmentality Apr 5, 2011

    egwralcom, exactly. If you're merging, you should try to get in a natural gap, and make sure you're up to highway speeds so you don't force anyone to slam on their brakes. If you see someone needing to merge and there's NO natural gap, you should try to safely speed up a bit, slow down a bit, or get over if it's safe, to make a gap. Otherwise, the person trying to merge will be forced to slow or stop.

    And a stopped car at the end of the on-ramp is REALLY dangerous, because no one is expecting that. People start accelerating to highway speed to merge, suddenly see a stopped car and have to slam on the brakes and swerve. I've seen this on 85 in Durham -- been one of the people slamming on my brakes, since you can't see the end of the on-ramp until you're already close to highway speed. Luckily everyone avoided a collision, but it came close to being a five-car pileup at the end of the on-ramp.

    Both people on the highway and people merging have to cooperate!

  • egwralcom Apr 5, 2011

    "People seem to forget that whoever is merging needs to yield. No slowing down or speeding up needed. I will get over if the next lane is clear and I am not getting off at the next exit. People gotta stop thinking that they are entitled to get on and everyone will make room for them"

    That is the attitude that causes the merge lanes to get backed up and people reach the end of the lane because they couldn't merge because the cars were so close together and nobody would open a gap. Then you end up with a whole lane full of very slow cars trying to force their way into a faster-moving lane. Drivers in *both* lanes need to work together to facilitate a smooth merge.

  • eoms Apr 5, 2011

    Regarding signal lights, lots of drivers think they are Moses. They turn on their light and expect anyone else immediately to part so they can move over.

  • ThePhwner Apr 5, 2011

    Fast or slow, the issue is that folks just aren't careful. I reported a truck yesterday who had a "how's my driving" sticker and phone #, for Dobson Pest Control. Guy was driving with a tailight out, and like he was drunk. In a company vehicle. Speed is just one factor in the general obliviousness and disregard for the safety of others.