Over ten cars caught fire, trapping the occupants inside. Emergency efforts, including 16 fire engines and more than 100 firefighters, continued after the blaze was "brought under control" almost two hours after it ignited, per CCTV.
While a tanker carrying 34 tons of highly flammable methanol was involved, authorities say it did not catch fire.
A witness noted the weather conditions.
"There was ice on the road surface, and a car at the front probably didn't brake in time and rear-ended another car," the motorist said, according to South China Morning Post. "The fire was quite big, but it's been put out."
An investigation is underway.
Watch videos of the aftermath, below.
Three traffic accidents occurred on the Baomao Expressway in #Shaanxi Province on Tuesday; 43 vehicles were damaged at the scene. The accident has so far caused three deaths and six injuries. An investigation is underway. pic.twitter.com/vArjerj1ST
MASSIVE FIRE #China: At 7 o'clock in the morning on November 24, Tongchuan, Shaanxi. On the section of Guanzhuanggou Bridge on Baomao Expressway, more than 40 vehicles collided in a traffic accident. The accident caused more than 10 vehicles to catch fire and many people died. pic.twitter.com/eCK2POjqdw