Winter weather poses significant risks to drivers and can cause life-altering accidents. Reports indicate that almost 45 percent of Michigan car accidents happen in the winter months of December, January, and February. In 2018, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety recorded 42,439 collisions due to winter weather conditions.
At Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC, we want to help keep you and your family safe on Michigan roads this winter. We’ve compiled the main hazards drivers face in the winter and information about how to avoid them.
Hazard #1 –Ice
It is one of the most dangerous winter weather conditions on Michigan roads and one that you’ll never see coming. Ice can be nearly impossible to spot and cause a total loss of control and maneuverability. Ice forms when the road is wet from rain, snow melt, or condensation, and temperatures dip below freezing.
To avoid hitting an icy patch and losing control of your vehicle, check road conditions before you head out. The Michigan Department of Transportation provides maps for motorists seeking detailed driving information and road conditions. Black ice forms most frequently on bridges, overpasses, and tree-lined streets. Avoid these areas when possible.
Hazard #2 – Snow
While snow gives you a little more traction than ice, it is still hazardous for Michigan drivers. Snow can make roads slick, making it harder for you to slow down and maneuver your vehicle. Snow can also hide hazards like patches of ice, traffic lines, and road debris.
If possible, stay home and don’t venture out on snowy and icy roadways. If you must leave home, check your tires. Snow tires are generally the best option, but chains can be effective too. Cold weather can reduce the air pressure in your tires. Always check the tire pressure before hitting the road.
Hazard #3 – Poor Visibility
As if watching the road for snow and ice weren’t stressful enough, a storm blowing through can impact your visibility. Whiteout conditions can make it nearly impossible to see the road ahead, let alone other cars and traffic lights.
When possible, stay home. It’s best to avoid traveling through significant winter snowstorms. If you must venture out, ensure your windshield wiper blades are clean and in working condition. Use your car’s heater or defroster feature to keep snow and ice from building up on your windshield. After a snowstorm, remove all the snow and ice buildup from your roof, outside mirrors, and windshield. It’s not just a good idea for your safety. It is the law. Michigan law prohibits vehicle operation if snow or other objects impair the driver’s line of sight.
Hazard #4 – Dead Battery
Cold weather can impact the internal mechanisms of your car, including your battery. Battery failure is more common in cold temperatures. The cold makes it harder for the battery to provide enough charge to start your car’s engine, which can leave you stranded.
Carry jumper cables or a portable power source in the truck of your car. Consider building an emergency winter road kit. Include a phone charger, blankets or warm jackets, flares, water, snacks, and a flashlight.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
When you live in Michigan, staying off the roads all winter long is almost unavoidable. To stay safe, slow down, avoid distractions, and remain vigilant. If a careless driver hits you and causes a winter weather accident, know that the team at Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC is here to help.
For over 60 years, we have helped accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. After a winter car accident, call our Macomb County team at (586) 776-1700 for a confidential case evaluation.