The interstate highway system has helped transform America. The backbone of the transit system allows the coast-to-coast movement of goods within days. And it makes it possible to take road trips with relative ease and safety. The interstates are multi-lane, divided  highways, which helps minimize head-on collisions. They are controlled access, with bridge interchanges eliminating many of the turns and stops that lead to crashes on two-lane highways.

And they have much gentler curves and typically lesser grades, often with truck lanes for slower moving trucks heading up hills. All of this smooths the traffic flow, prevents sudden stops and turns and eliminates much of the speed differentials that can cause tragic and catastrophic crashes.

Except in winter.

When conditions turn bad, the smooth flow of the interstate can turn into a sliding, crashing pile of debris and wreckage, as cars and trucks are left in mangled heaps.

This winter, across the nation, there have been numerous large, chain-reaction crashes, as heavy traffic combined with slippery roads and low visibility often make for massive accidents, involving dozens and in one case, almost 200 vehicles.

Such a crash occurred during winter weather over the weekend on I-44 in Missouri, when a bus struck a semi-truck and set of a enormous 30-vehicle collision.

There were 11 passengers from the bus who suffered minor injuries, and miraculously, no other injuries were reported. It was remarkable that there were no fatalities, as Missouri Highway Patrol reported that there were multiple tractor-trailers involved.

The road was closed for 24 hours while damaged vehicles were removed., “Crews clear multi-vehicle crash scene on I-44 more than 24 hours later,” Adam McDonald, February 28, 2015