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Wisconsin motorists know to be ready for anything on the road. In wintertime, this means snow, ice and sleet, which can make streets and highways slippery. Drivers who do not adjust by slowing down and allowing for more following distance risk getting into a car accident.

Late in July, a different sort of natural phenomenon may have caused a three-car crash in western Wisconsin. At least two people were injured, though one of them was not seriously hurt. The condition of the second victim was not known.

The accident happened during a massive swarm of mayflies, a short-lived insect that can sudden appear in the billions, making roads slick and limiting visibility. The swarm was so large that it was caught on radar, as if it were a weather pattern.

The night of the swarm, a 24-year-old Ellsworth woman was driving north on a highway covered by the mayflies. She lost control and hit a southbound vehicle before striking a van.

The person potentially most seriously injured in the collision was a 51-year-old woman who was a passenger in one of the vehicles. She was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries. The 24-year-old suffered minor injuries.

Certainly, predicting a mayfly swarm is likely not easy for the average motorist. However, whenever one encounters less-than-ideal road conditions, it is their duty to other drivers to take precautions. For example, going 55 mph or above may not be safe.

Failure to live up to this duty can cause serious injury, even if the driver is not breaking the law. If the negligent driver is not insured, their victims may be left with no choice but to sue for compensation.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Massive mayfly swarm blamed in 3-car accident near Red Wing,” Jim Anderson, July 22, 2014