POLICE have again urged motorists to drive carefully after a three-car collision involving 13 people blocked Warrnambool's busy Raglan Parade yesterday morning.
Eight of the passengers were children aged 10 and under who fortunately escaped with minor injuries.
Two women in the 60s were trapped for about an hour before being freed by the SES and taken by ambulance to the base hospital with chest and back injuries.
The smash came just two days after a double fatality in a head-on collision near Lismore attended by the same police officer who was in charge of the weekend incident in Warrnambool.
"How many times do we have to plead with drivers to concentrate and be vigilant," Senior Constable Greg Kew of the Warrnambool highway patrol said.
"It deeply disturbs me.
"I've been to two major road accidents in three shifts this week and four fatal smashes this year.
"I don't want to go to another.
"There were 13 people involved in Saturday's smash - the outcome could have been a lot worse"
He said investigations showed a Mitsubishi Grandis wagon driven by a 36-year-old Warrnambool man carrying his four children and their young nephew hit the rear of a Peugeot station wagon carrying two Warrnambool women aged 66 and 62 which hit the rear of a Kia Carnival van carrying a 43-year-old Dixie man, his wife and their three children.
It happened on a straight stretch of double highway about 300 metres west of the Glenroe Avenue intersection about 11.30am.
Driver inattention is believed to be the major cause.
"People can be distracted by children in the car, the rush of Christmas shopping and the excitement of heading off on holidays," Senior Constable Kew said.
"Roads are busy with holiday traffic, so leave early, be alert and arrive alive.
"Ninety-nine per cent of collisions are caused by driver error."
The Mitshubishi and Peugeot were towed away with extensive damage.
Heywood police also attended a motorcycle accident near Condah on the Henty Highway about 11am Saturday.
The Portland rider in his 50s was fortunate to sustain relatively minor injuries and was taken to Portland hospital for a check-up.
Acting Sergeant Michael Aitken of Heywood said the wet road and crosswind contributed to the rider losing control of his Honda Goldwing which was towing a small trailer.
Warrnambool's Sergeant Kelly McNaughton said police would continue their focus on road safety during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.
"We will have back-to-back operations and urge people to take care," he said.
"There will be a massive increase in traffic in the next few days."