The snow has started in Michigan, and unfortunately, the dangerous impact it can have on roads is already being seen. In only the first week of December, numerous car collisions caused by hazardous weather conditions were already reported.
In western Michigan, accidents involving over three dozen cars were reported by the Detroit Free Press. On Thursday, December 7, 2017, westbound I-94 in southwestern Michigan was closed due to various pileups that began around 9 AM. An initial twenty car pileup was then quickly followed by a ten car pileup. Eight other smaller accidents were also reported that day, including one car accident involvign a pickup truck that slid into oncoming traffic, sideswiping an SUV. Luckily, only minor injuries were reported. The car accidents occurred near Mattawan, Michigan, in Van Buren County. Slippery road conditions were cited as the cause of all of these automobile accidents.
The Detroit Free Press also reported on a tragic scene that was caused by winter weather conditions in northern Michigan. On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, a 25-year old man was killed after he was hit by an oncoming vehicle as he was clearing snow from his driveway. The man was using a snowblower when a 25-year old female driver lost control of her vehicle, hitting the man. The accident occurred in Kingsley, Michigan, which is located in Grand Traverse County. The names of those involved in the accident have not been released as an investigation is ongoing.
Accidents like these are unfortunately common throughout the United States as winter weather starts to set in. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 22% of car collisions that occurred between 2005 and 2014 were caused by hazardous weather. Those accidents killed an average of 5,900 people each year, which accounts for 16% of annual vehicular deaths. Of accidents caused by hazardous weather, wet pavement was the most common culprit, being responsible for 73% of all weather related accidents. Snow and sleet precipitation accounted for 17% of all weather related accidents, snowy and slushy pavement accounted for 14% of these car crashes, and and icy pavement accounted for 13%.
These numbers are scary, and Michigan winters are cold and long. This doesn’t mean that you should never get in your car again until April, but it is important that drivers are aware of the hazards that snow, sleet, slush, and ice can present. Practicing safe driving behaviors is always important, but especially so when driving in hazardous weather. Drivers should first make sure their vehicles are ready for winter driving. Steps to make a car winter ready can be found on The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog. Once a car is winter ready, drivers should take their time on the road and be sure to leave enough stopping distance between themselves and other vehicles. Finally, If the weather really seems just too dangerous to be driving in, it’s likely that most businesses will be closed, and you don’t need to brave the elements and risk injuring or hurting yourself or others.
Accidents happen year round, but the truth is that winter weather conditions make car accidents even more likely. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident caused by hazardous weather such as snow or ice, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.