Winter Driving Safety Tips

From sledding down the most prestigious hill in the neighborhood in a dark blue, plastic sled, to skating on the ice rink at Campus Martius in Detroit, winter in Michigan can be the most joyous time of year! However, winter in Michigan isn’t all hot chocolate and toasty fireplaces. Unfortunately, the same snow and freezing cold temperatures that allow Michiganders to have winter fun can also lead to car crashes and serious injuries.

Michigan Snow Car Crash Lawyer

Drivers unlucky enough to have experienced Michigan winters know that winter drives are unpredictable and can make drivers feel like they’re participating in a Winter Olympics event! Visible road conditions in the morning might allow drivers to feel as confident as Bode Miller swishing and swooshing down a freshly groomed mountaintop. But by the drive home, heavy snowfall and terrible road conditions may create so many hurdles, that drivers feel like they not only missed the podium but placed last in the Olympic qualifier event. In fact, driving in the snow is such a gruesome task that over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavements annually, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). So many of these winter weather car accidents are caused by drivers who don’t know how to respond to the treacherous winter weather conditions or how to navigate their vehicles over ice and snow. Since driving in the snow can be a very daunting task, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published the following winter driving tips:

Winter Driving Tips

  1. Stay Alert

  • Keep your gas tank close to full, even with a hybrid-electric vehicle. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel than you anticipated to get home or to keep warm.

  • If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle.

  • On longer trips, plan enough time to stop to stretch, get something to eat, return calls or text messages, and change drivers or rest if you feel drowsy.

2. Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors

  • Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving.

  • Obey all posted speed limits, but drive even slower if necessary for weather conditions.

  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory – the skills critical for safe and responsible driving.

3. Driving in Winter Conditions

  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.

  • Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up.

4. Navigating Around Snow Plows

  • Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently.

  • The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.

  • When you are driving behind a snow plow, don’t follow or stop too closely. A snow plow operator’s field-of-vision is limited; if you can't see the mirrors, the driver can't see you. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle.

  • Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards.

What To Do In A Winter Emergency

If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:

  1. Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.

  2. Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.

  3. To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.

Folks in Michigan have plenty to do in the winter, like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, building snowmen, and so much more. Unfortunately, extreme winter weather can also cause many hazards, especially when traveling in snow and ice. While people may cheer on a winter storm for freezing a lake well enough to skate on, they also boo at it for causing pile-ups on the freeway. Since we can’t manipulate Michigan’s weather to be more like Florida’s, Michigan drivers have no choice but to learn how to safely navigate their vehicles in snow, slush, and ice. Hopefully, by following the aforementioned winter driving safety tips, drivers can learn to endure the next snowstorm as Olympic gold medalists and not ER patients!


Winter weather may have it’s up and downs, so it’s important for drivers to stay cautious in order to avoid car crashes. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by snowy or icy driving conditions, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Caution: Don't Slip Into Spring

Finally! A glimmer of hope at the end of a polar vortex! Spring is coming early!

On Saturday, February 2, 2019, Americans were crossing their fingers and waiting on bated breath for Punxsutawney Phil to make his annual Groundhog Day prediction. As tradition dictates, if the groundhog sees his shadow and goes back into his burrow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. But, if he doesn’t see his shadow and stays outside, spring will come early. And if you haven’t already heard, Phil did not see his shadow!

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Punxsutawney Phil might just be the best meteorologist in America because Michiganders have been enjoying warm temperatures this week. Monday reached a high of 54 °F, which after the subzero temperatures the day before, made it feel like a heatwave hit Metro Detroit! But just because spring is coming early, doesn’t mean winter is over just yet. There may not be a blizzard on the horizon, but Metro Detroit is experiencing an ice storm. According to The National Weather Service (NWS), “Freezing rain develops as falling snow encounters a layer of warm air deep enough for the snow to completely melt and become rain. As the rain continues to fall, it passes through a thin layer of cold air just above the surface and cools to a temperature below freezing. However, the drops themselves do not freeze, a phenomenon called supercooling (or forming "supercooled drops"). When the supercooled drops strike the frozen ground (power lines, or tree branches), they instantly freeze, forming a thin film of ice, hence freezing rain... Ice storms result from the accumulation of freezing rain.”

The NWS also mentions that, “Ice storms can be the most devastating of winter weather phenomena and are often the cause of automobile accidents, power outages and personal injury.” In 2014, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 42,480 work injuries involved ice, sleet, or snow. 2,040 of them were Michigan work injuries. The report also indicates that the injuries resulted from, “falls, slips or trips; overexertion and bodily reaction; transportation incidents; and contact with objects and equipment.”

Icy sidewalks, driveways, and even roads may cause disasters and lead to a higher risk of slips, falls, and even car accidents. Don’t slip into spring; walk and drive slowly.


Slip and falls and car accidents caused by ice may lead to minor injuries such as twisted ankles and scraped knees and to serious injuries like broken bones and even traumatic brain injuries, leaving victims in the hospital for days and out of work for weeks. The Michigan Law Firm, PC provides legal services to those who have been injured in slip and fall accidents and icy car crashes. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

MSP Responded To Nearly 100 Icy Road Car Crashes Today!

Source: Giphy, HBO’s Game of Thrones

It’s January 16th, but some days have been unbelievably warm and sunny with 50°F weather. People are still flocking to outdoor ice cream stands like it’s still summer! Unfortunately, it appears as our good luck has faded and as they say on Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.” Metro Detroit citizens woke up to the surprise of slick, icy roads this morning after getting used to the mild winter that that graced Michigan so far.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) responded to nearly 100 car accidents, just today! Not only did they have to provide emergency services for car crash calls, but an MSP patrol car was also involved in a speeding car crash. The MSP tweeted about the crash saying, “We got lucky overnight! A courtesy van, road commission salt truck and a state police patrol car were all hit while trying to keep you safe overnight. Fortunately, we can fix metal. No one was hurt. Please, Move Over!!”

Clearly winter weather is dangerous to drive in. But, since we can’t stay indoors for months at a time, it’s important to learn how to properly navigate vehicles through snow and ice. The MSP even tweeted a winter driving safety tip, “Another quick pointer this morning. Four wheel drive is great in snow and mud. On ice four wheel drive becomes four wheel slide! So pick up drivers and SUV drivers need to slow down this morning.” The MSP also informed readers of, "Some hot spots in the district: I 75 downriver and I94 in Detroit. Multiple crashes in both areas causing temporary closures and lane restrictions."


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,259,000 weather related accidents occurred between 2005 and 2015. Specifically in winter months, the data shows that 17% of crashes occurred during snow or sleet, 13% occurred on icy pavement, and 14% occurred due to snowy or slushy pavement. Therefore, drivers need to be very careful when driving in winter weather conditions. Driving safely in the snow is better than being a passenger in an ambulance.

Winter Weather Means Hazardous Driving Conditions

While a lot of us may love the holiday season, one not so joyous thing that comes with it is the weather. What's particularly bad is that winter weather affects roads and can make driving dangerous. While fresh snow may be a pretty sight to see on Christmas morning, it’s a lot less pretty when it’s causing car collisions on the road. Unfortunately, snow, sleet, and ice, are responsible for a significant number of automobile accidents in winter months.

Detroit Black Ice Car Crash Lawyer

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), over 70% of roads in the U.S. are located in areas that receive at least 5 inches of snow on average each year. Nearly 70% of the U.S. population lives in these areas, meaning the vast majority of us have our drives impacted by winter weather conditions to some degree. Heavy snow and sleet reduce visibility of the road, and snow accumulation reduces the number of cars that fit on the street, as well as how fast vehicles are able to travel. On surface roads, speeds decrease by an average of 30-40% in snowy and icy conditions. On the freeway, speeds decrease by an average of 3-13% in light snow, and 5-40% in heavy snow. Snow and ice on the road also reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that of the 5,748,000 crashes that occurred between 2005 and 2015, 1,259,000 (22%) were weather related. This is an average of about 5,900 weather related automobile accidents per year. Of crashes caused by weather, precipitation and wet pavement were the most common causes, which is unsurprising because these conditions occur year round. Of weather conditions that are specific to winter months, 17% of crashes occurred during snow or sleet, 13% occurred on icy pavement, and 14% occurred due to snowy or slushy pavement. Rapidly changing conditions, such as a sudden blizzard, are the most dangerous conditions, as road visibility can change in an instant.

Road salt is commonly used to help reduce the effects of winter weather on the road. USDOT reports that winter road maintenance makes up 20% of state DOT maintenance budgets. State and local agencies spend approximately $2.3 billion on snow and ice road repairs. Salt has proven to be extremely effective in keeping drivers safer. According to a study done by Marquette University, road salt reduces the number of car collisions by 88%, injuries by 85%, and accident costs by 85%.

It’s clear that winter weather conditions make roads more dangerous and car accidents more likely to happen. However it’s unrealistic to expect drivers to just not go anywhere when it snows (especially in Michigan, where the winters can be very, very long). The Michigan Secretary of State offers the following tips for driving in winter weather.

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

While following these tips can’t guarantee you won’t get into a winter car accident caused by snow or ice, it may help reduce the risk of motor vehicle collisions, and keep you and your family safer if you should be involved a car crash. The holiday season is a celebratory time of year, but it’s important to be aware of the driving hazards that also occur. These scary winter car accident statistics aren’t meant to keep you in your house all winter, but should serve as an important reminder of the additional hazards winter weather poses to driving.


While winter weather conditions do make driving more dangerous, the truth is that car crashes happen all year round. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

First Snowfalls Causing Car Collisions Across Michigan

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.

Detroit Winter Car Accident Lawyer

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.

Michigan Snow Car Crash Lawyer

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.

Colder Temperatures Reignite Car Idling Debate

Detroit Parking Ticket Lawyer

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember two articles from this past summer that documented the saga of a Michigan man receiving a ticket for warming up his car one winter morning. Nick Taylor Trupiano, age 24 and of Roseville, Michigan, started his car in his driveway one morning in January of 2017. Taylor went back in his house to wait for it to warm up, but when he went back out to his car, was shocked to find a ticket on the windshield. The ticket read, “Vehicle parked in drive with keys in the ignition, motor running -- no one around."

Trupiano, angry and confused by the $128 fine, posted a picture of the ticket on Facebook, along with a heated description of the situation. The post was shared over 14,000 times. Facebook users were both angered at the Roseville Police Department for the bizarre ticket, and concerned that the same thing could happen to them. The Roseville Police Department responded, saying that, by leaving the car on with the keys in the ignition, Trupiano was “putting the public at risk” and creating a “public safety issue.” Essentially, Trupiano was leaving the car open to being stolen, since it was sitting in public view with the keys in the ignition. The law that Trupiano was ticketed under was put in place in order to deter carjackings. Had he started his car with a remote starter, it would have been fine. It’s the fact that the keys were in the ignition, making it fairly easy to steal the car, that was the issue. Trupiano fought the ticket, but lost, and was forced to pay the fine.

Many Michigan residents were concerned that the same thing could happen to them, since it's common for Michiganders in the middle of a harsh, typical winter to warm their cars up while they wait inside. Agreeing with Michigan citizens, Representative Holly Hughes introduced Bill 4215, a bill that would make it legal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition so long as it was on private property. The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives, and Governor Rick Snyder officially signed it into law on June 28, 2017. To be clear, it is still illegal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition on public roads and freeways.

Detroit Snow Car Accident Lawyer

While the bill may have alleviated many Michigan residents’ fears about being ticketed for warming up their car in the winter, what was lost in the debate is whether or not cars even need to be warmed up in the winter. The short answer is, no. The idea that drivers need to warm up their vehicles before driving in the winter does stem from some truth, but doesn’t carry much weight now. According to the Washington Post, it is true that a vehicle's fuel economy does decrease significantly in colder temperatures, and it does take longer for the engine to warm up to its optimal temperature in the winter. More so, vehicles manufactured with carburetors do need to be warmed up in order to work well and prevent the car from stalling. However, automobile manufacturers stopped using carburetors by the mid 1990s, and began using electronic fuel injections. Electronic fuel injections can monitor and adjust to the temperature, so warming up isn’t necessary. As a result, modern vehicles don’t need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds before driving - the engine will warm up faster while being driven than it would will idling in the driveway.

In short, if you’re warming up your vehicle to help your engine, that really isn’t necessary. But if you idle your car in the morning simply so your car is warm and you don’t have to spend the first 10 minutes of your commute in an icebox, that’s a different story! Many drivers warm up their car for comfort, but it’s important to consider the economic and environmental implications. Idling your car not only wastes fuel (and thereby wastes money) but it also gives off greenhouse gas emissions. A 2009 study found that idling cars account for 1.6% of all greenhouse gas emissions in America. While some idling, such as idling in traffic, is unavoidable, idling in the driveway is not. That same study found that based on the price of fuel in 2009, Americans could save $5.9 billion a year on fuel costs if drivers would cut out unnecessary idling.

Whether you decide to idle your car in the morning or not is up to you. But if you do decide to idle your car, make sure you do so in your driveway, where it is now legal. Do so on a public street, and you are fair game for a ticket.


While accidents can happen any time of year, driving in snowy and icy conditions can be especially challenging, and can lead to winter weather car accidents. If you have been involved in an automobile accident due to winter road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Safety Tips For Driving In Winter Weather

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It’s the time of year again when driving conditions tend to be at their worst. In Michigan especially, winter brings very snowy months that make driving difficult for everyone. In addition to the snow and the effect that it has on road conditions and on drivers, icy roads are also obstacles for drivers. Icy and snowy roads typically lead to more car accidents during this time of the year.

However, there are several ways to deal with the hazards of icy roads and to prevent winter car crashes. A good trick to help remember how to drive safely in winter driving conditions is to remember the 3 P’s of safe winter driving, which are provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The 3 P’s of Safe Winter Driving:

1. Prepare for the Trip

The Prepare part of the 3 P’s deals with how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving conditions.

  1. The first tip is to maintain your car, which includes, but is not limited to, checking your battery, tire tread, windshield wipers, keeping your windows clear, putting in no-freeze fluid, and checking your antifreeze.
  2. The second tip includes things that drivers should have on hand, such as flashlights, jumper cables, abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, shovels, snow brushes, ice scrapers, blankets, and a cell phone. For long trips, include things like food, water, and medication.
  3. The third tip of the is knowing how to deal with situations like when your car is stopped or stalled. In such a case, do not get out of your car, don’t overexert your car, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine your dome light, and if you run your car, clear the exhaust pipe and run it only long enough to keep warm.
  4. The fourth tip is to plan your route, which involves checking the weather ahead of time, checking maps/directions, allowing plenty of time to get to your destination, and letting others know of your route and estimated arrival time.
  5. The final tip to Prepare for your trip is to practice safe weather driving. This means rehearsing maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot in daylight, steering into a skid, and finding out what your brakes will do (stomp on anti-lock brakes and pump on non-anti-lock brakes). Knowing how to use you brakes is especially important since stopping distances are longer on ice. Another safe winter driving practice is to not idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

2. Protect Yourself

The next P of the 3 P’s is Protect Yourself. This means:

  1. Buckling up and using child safety seats properly.
  2. Never placing an infant seat in front of an airbag. 
  3. Seating children 12 and under in back seat where it is much safer.

3. Prevent Crashes on the Road

The final P is to Prevent Crashes. This includes:

  1. Slowing down and increasing distances between cars. 
  2. Keeping your eyes open for pedestrians.
  3. Avoiding fatigue by getting plenty of rest before driving.
  4. Never driving after partaking in drugs or alcohol.
  5. If you do plan to drink, designating a sober driver. 

Winter is a dangerous season for drivers, especially for those who maneuver Michigan roads. Hopefully by following these winter driving safety tips, some accidents may be prevented this winter season. 

Michigan Icy Road Car Crash Lawyer

While these winter driving safety tips may help prevent some car crashes, accidents may still happen. Winter driving can be very difficult and dangerous, and there is only so much one can do to try to stay safe. If you or anybody you know has been injured in accident due to icy roads or other weather conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all kinds of accident cases, and will fight to get you the help you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.