Warning signs existed for 20 hours prior to Wednesday morning’s I-4 pile up. The National Weather Service had given Northern Polk County (where the pileup occurred) a 10 out of 10 severe fog warning. The Department of Forestry then told the Florida Highway Patrol to expect dangerous conditions in that area, where a controlled burn was ongoing. This warning from the Department of Forestry is very rare, only once or twice a year do they warn the FHP of “smoked-in highways.” After these warning signs the DOT installed one warning sign in each direction. The FHP and DOT then investigated the area but found no need to close the area, despite the “controlled” burn getting out of hand in the same vicinity that led to I-4 being closed for 10 days in 2001. Hopefully all parties involved learn from their mistakes and a tragedy such as this does not happen again.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accident.