Vehicle App Downloads Increase As Temperatures Decrease

Grandpa may not understand how to use Facebook but he sure wasn’t going to go out in -50°F windchill to start up his car! The polar vortex brought many troubles, challenges, and delays to Michigan drivers. The bone-chilling wind and subzero temperatures were horrifying enough that even technophobic people downloaded and used mobile connected apps to self start their vehicle engines.

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On January 30, 2019, self-starting apps were used more than 59 million times, which is a 70% increase from an average day in January, according to General Motors. These apps include myChevrolet, myBuick, myGMC, and myCadillac.

Santiago Chamorro, GM’s Vice President for Global Connected Customer Experience said, “With access to an app that connects directly to the vehicle, our customers are able remote start their vehicle from anywhere, and avoid spending extra time outside during unpleasant weather conditions."

GM stated that Michigan, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Minnesota were the states with the most users hitting “start” on their phones to warm up their vehicles.

According to USA Today, the GM vehicle self-starting app was introduced 9 years ago and was the auto industry’s first connected mobile app. In addition to starting up their engines, GM owners of Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC vehicles can also check their vehicle's oil life, tire pressure, and fuel level. The app can even help drivers locate the car if it’s ever lost.

Other automotive brands have also jumped at the vehicle app trend. For example, Chrysler vehicles such as Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and FIAT have Uconnect, Toyota has Toyota Owners, and the Ford Motor Company has FordPass. All of these apps allow drivers to start their vehicle engines, check their vehicle's oil life, tire pressure, fuel level, locates the car in a crowded parking lot, and some even allow users to sound the vehicle's horn and flash the headlights. Though connected car apps used to only be a feature in luxury vehicles, like BMW’s BMW Connected Drive, this technology has become widely available for most newer model vehicles regardless of their price tag.

There is nothing like stepping into a toasty car on a frosty morning, and thanks to automakers’ mobile connected apps, many people can start off their morning drive without worrying about their hands freezing and sticking to the steering wheel! However, there are dangers to letting a car warm up. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog recently informed readers of some bad habits drivers carry out that can hurt their vehicles. One such bad habit is letting the engine idle too long in an effort to warm up the car. According to AutoBlog, “idling for too long causes buildup on the spark plugs, rendering them less efficient. This may be bad news for your wallet, too, as it wastes gas.”


Mobile connected apps have made winter driving a bit more tolerable for Michigan drivers. However, the winter driving dangers of icy roads, vision-impairing snowfall, and other car accident causing winter driving threats still exist. Car accidents may lead to serious injuries and seriously expensive medical bills. Like a snow plow clearing the road, the car accident attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC help clear up the legal process for victims of car crashes. For a free legal consultation with a Michigan accident attorney, call 844.4MI.FIRM.

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!

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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.

9 Bad Winter Habits That Could Ruin Your Car

Just as Michiganders started to get their hopes up believing that this year’s winter may be mild, the state was hit with a snow storm yesterday and is expecting subzero temperatures today. Governor Gretchen Whitmer even declared a state of emergency, stating, “Keeping Michiganders safe during this stretch of dangerously cold temperatures is our priority. Such widespread, extreme conditions have not occurred in Michigan for many years and it is imperative that we are proactive with record-low temperatures being predicted by the National Weather Service. Wind chills are predicted as low as 50 degrees below zero in many places, such as metro Detroit which is especially unaccustomed to these temps.”

Since humans can’t hibernate in the winter, it’s important for people to know how to drive in snowy, icy, and freezing temperature so that they can get to work, the grocery store, the hospital, Zumba, or wherever else they have to go. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog shared a vehicle safety to-do list from The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) that informs drivers of vehicle maintenance they should peform before heading out on winter roads. However, just as it’s important to know what to do, it’s also important to know what not to do when it comes to winter vehicle safety. Weather.com has collected some advice for drivers regarding some winter vehicle maintenance mistakes that can hurt a car rather than help it.

9 Bad Winter Habits That Could Ruin Your Car

1. Forgetting to Change the Windshield Wipers

Changing the windshield wipers is one of the easiest items to forget when it comes to car maintenance. See the streaks your wipers are leaving on the window? Pep Boys says, "the trick is changing your wipers as soon as they don't clear the windshield well." Windshield wipers are vital to your safety on the road; better wipers mean better visibility. 

2. Warming the Car for Too Long

Climbing into a freezing car is not fun, so many resort to starting the vehicle and letting it warm up before they leave for the day. This is viable for a couple minutes; however, engines are not designed to idle for long periods of time. According to AutoBlog, idling for too long causes buildup on the spark plugs, rendering them less efficient. This may be bad news for your wallet, too, as it wastes gas. 

3. Continuing to Use Summer Tires When Winter Hits

Many who live in cities that rarely see snowfall neglect changing their tires for the appropriate season. Summer tires begin experiencing faulty performance when the temperature falls below 44.6 °F, Giti Tires says. A thin layer of ice on the road can weaken summer tires, leading to poor handling and braking. 

4. Forgetting to Check Tire Pressure

Tires tend to be a bigger issue in the winter due to compressed air that cooler weather brings. CarInsuranceQuotes.net notes that the pressure in your tires is reduced by one PSI every 10-degree drop in the temperature. It may be a good idea to keep an emergency maintenance kit in the car and include a portable air pump and pressure gauge. 

5. Failing to Protect the Dashboard

It may be cold outside, but the sun is just as intense as it is in the summer. If you park in the sunlight, you may see the color of the dashboard fade, and the material may crack or blister. AutoBlog suggests keeping a cardboard sunshade in the trunk for days when the sun is bright and likely to cause damage. 

6. Keeping Up with the Amount of Gas in Your Car

During the winter months, it's better to fill up frequently as a near-empty tank can cause problems. CNN Money reports the moist air in an empty tank can freeze and crystallize, leading to ice in the fuel lines. 

7. Pouring a Bucket of Hot Water on the Windshield for Deicing 

The temperature difference between the scalding water and your freezing car may crack your windshield. Remember that rock that put a lovely crack in the glass yesterday? The hot water will work its way in there and expand, creating a problem you don't want to see. Instead, go for the old fashioned way: the ice scraper. 

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8. Slamming on the Brakes and Overcorrecting When You Hit a Patch of Ice

This may put you on the front page of local newspapers after you cause an accident involving several cars. If you slam on your brakes, you're almost guaranteed to spin out of control and into traffic or the guardrail. To avoid a costly accident, stay calm, gently turn the steering wheel in the direction you are sliding and lightly tap the brake. 

9. Speeding in Snowy Conditions 

Yes, even the most experienced drivers can falter in their winter driving skills. Overconfidence in one's abilities can be detrimental and end up causing a serious crash. Black ice may be lurking beneath that fresh coat of snow, and if you're speeding, it all goes downhill from there. Keep your speed steady and drive below the speed limit when roads are icy or the threat of ice is possible.

Extreme winter weather does a great job of ruining vehicles on its own, without needing help from human error. It’s easier on the wallet to take care of vehicle maintenance before the car inconveniently breaks down or doesn’t start, or before poor vehicle conditions causes a car crash.


Car maintenance bills in the hundreds are easier to stomach than medical and legal bills in the thousands. Many winter car crashes may be avoidable if the right winter vehicle maintenance is performed. But for victims of those winter weather car accidents that occur anyway, the car crash attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC are available to help ease the burden of being involved in a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation with a Michigan car accident lawyer, call 844.4MI.FIRM today.

Winter Driving Vehicle Safety Check List

The 2004 movie, Dodgeball taught the lesson, “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” A similar philosophy can be applied to winter weather driving: If you can service your vehicle, you can handle the snow. Knowing how to drive in the snowy conditions is very important, especially to avoid getting into car accidents. But before even backing out of the driveway and into the blizzard, drivers should diligently check their vehicle to make sure it can weather the storm. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) provides drivers with a vehicle safety to-do list before they hit the road.

Source: Giphy, Dodgeball

Before You Go:

Get Your Car Serviced

  • No one wants their car to break down in any season, but especially not in cold or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition.

  • Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and other routine maintenance.

  • Have your vehicle checked thoroughly for leaks, badly worn hoses, or other needed parts, repairs, and replacements.

Check for Recalls

  • Owners may not always know that their vehicle is under an open recall and needs to be repaired. NHTSA's Recalls Look-up Tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if your vehicle or one you are looking to purchase has a critical safety issue that has not been repaired. Check for recalls on your vehicle by searching now: nhtsa.gov/recalls. If your vehicle is under a recall, get it fixed at your nearest dealer FOR FREE.

Know Your Car

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  • Every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Take time now to learn how your vehicle handles under winter weather driving conditions.

  • Before driving your vehicle, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights, backup camera and other sensors around the vehicle.

  • When your area gets snow, practice driving on snow-covered or icy roads—but not on a main road. Sharpen your winter weather driving skills and know how your vehicle handles in snowy conditions by practicing in an empty parking lot. See your vehicle’s manual to familiarize yourself with the features on your vehicle—such as antilock brakes and electronic stability control—and how the features perform in slippery conditions. For example, your vehicle or pedals may pulsate when controlling traction.

  • For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, minimize the drain on the battery. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the battery, plug your vehicle in whenever it’s not in use. Preheat the passenger compartment before you unplug your vehicle in the morning.

  • When renting a car, become familiar with the vehicle before driving it off the lot. Know the location of the hazard lights switch in case of emergency, and review the owner’s manual so that you’re prepared for any driving situation that may arise.

Stock Your Vehicle

  • Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, such as cleaning off your windshield, as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep the following in your vehicle:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.

  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.

  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers.

  • Blankets for protection from the cold.

  • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).

Plan Your Travel and Route

  • Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.

  • Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic.

  • Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary.

  • Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

Go Over Your Vehicle Safety Checklist

Battery

  • When the temperature drops, so does battery power. For gasoline and diesel engines, it takes more battery power to start your vehicle in cold weather. For electric and hybrid electric vehicles, the driving range is reduced when the battery is cold, and battery systems work better after they warm up. Make sure your battery is up to the challenges of winter.

  • Have your mechanic check your battery for sufficient voltage, amperage and reserve capacity.

  • Have the charging system and belts inspected.

  • Replace the battery or make necessary system repairs, including simple things like tightening the battery cable connections.

  • Keep gasoline in a hybrid-electric vehicle, to support the gasoline engine.

Lights

  • See and be seen! Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to also check your trailer brake lights and turn signals. Trailer light connection failure is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.

Cooling System

  • Make sure the cooling system is in proper working order.

  • Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and the coolant meets the manufacturer’s specifications. See your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations on coolant.

  • Thoroughly check the cooling system for leaks or have your mechanic do it for you.

  • Have the coolant tested for proper mix, proper pH (acidity) and strength of the built-in corrosion inhibitors. Over time, the rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down and become ineffective.

  • Drain and replace the coolant in your vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer, to remove dirt and rust particles that can clog the cooling system and cause it to fail.

Windshield

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  • You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid fairly quickly in a single snowstorm, so be prepared for whatever might come your way.

  • Completely fill your vehicle’s reservoir before the first snow hits.

  • Use high-quality “winter” fluid with de-icer and keep extra in your vehicle.

Wipers and Defrosters

  • Safe winter driving depends on achieving and maintaining the best visibility possible.

  • Make sure your windshield wipers work; replace worn blades.

  • Consider installing heavy-duty winter wipers if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice.

  • Check to see that your front and rear window defrosters work properly.

Floor Mats

  • Improperly installed floor mats in your vehicle may interfere with the operation of the accelerator or brake pedal, increasing the risk of a crash.

  • Remove old floor mats before installing new mats; never stack mats.

  • Use mats that are the correct size and fit for your vehicle.

  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mat installation. Use available retention clips to secure the mat and prevent it from sliding forward.

  • Every time the mats are removed for any reason, verify that the driver’s mat is reinstalled correctly.

Tires

  • If you plan to use snow tires, have them installed in the fall so you are prepared before it snows. Check out nhtsa.gov/tires for tire ratings before buying new ones and look for winter tires with the snowflake symbol.

  • Regardless of season, inspect your tires at least once a month and before long road trips. It only takes about five minutes. If you find yourself driving under less-than-optimal road conditions this winter, you’ll be glad you took the time. Don’t forget to check your spare tire.

  • As the outside temperature drops, so does tire inflation pressure. Make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner’s manual and on a placard located on the driver's side door frame. The correct pressure is NOT the number listed on the tire. Be sure to check tires when they are cold, which means the car hasn’t been driven for at least 3 hours.

  • Look closely at your tread and replace tires that have uneven wear or insufficient tread. Tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch or greater on all tires.

  • Check the age of each tire. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of use, but check your owner’s manual to find out.

  • For more information on tire safety, visit NHTSA’s Tires page.

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Driving in the winter, especially on Michigan roads can be a lot like playing Mario Kart. It can be a thrill to race down Rainbow Road as Mario, but seconds later the kart might hit with a banana peel and spin out landing the player in last place. A driver who neglects safety measures before heading out into winter driving conditions may end up in a real life game of Mario Kart. Therefore, to avoid car crashes, it’s important to go over every winter driving safety rule before getting behind the wheel.


Taking a vehicle to get serviced can be a pain of a process, but failing to do so may lead to larger consequences which no driver wants to endure. Servicing a vehicle before heading out is very important during winter in Michigan and keeps drivers safe on the roads. The personal injury attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC represent individuals who have been injured in serious winter accidents. Contact 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.

July Is UV Safety Awareness Month

Summer is in full swing in Michigan! That means plenty of sunshine, heat, and lots of time spent outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. Whether heading to the beach, to a lake, to a picnic, or on a road trip, be careful of the summer sun!

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There’s no better time to talk about sun safety, because according to WebMD, July is UV Safety Month! Everyone loves sunshine, but it’s easy to forget that with the sun comes it’s powerful ultraviolet rays. While the danger of spending hours under the sun is well known, less than an hour of sun exposure can still cause harm. In fact, all it takes is 15 minutes for UV rays to damage your skin! This means that sunscreen is essential even for a quick stroll to the corner store. The warning to wear sunscreen is repeated frequently, however it’s not always taken to heart, as fewer than a third of US adults apply sunscreen on a daily basis.

Sunscreen is a beach bag essential, but it’s not necessarily an item that drivers reach for every time they get in the car.  Drivers and passengers may feel safe from the sun during their summer road trips, however the side and rear windows of motor vehicles do not offer full protection from UV rays. The driver’s left side is particularly at risk for UV exposure. But fear not! The Skin Cancer Foundation has published some safety tips drivers can follow to enjoy the sunshine while keep their skin protected, when hitting the road.

How To Prevent UV Exposure While Driving

1. Treat Your Vehicle to Window Film

The sun's ultraviolet radiation is associated with most cases of skin cancer, which will affect one in five Americans over a lifetime. UV radiation reaches us in the form of shortwave UVB and long-wave UVA rays, but glass blocks only UVB effectively. Although car windshields are partially treated to filter out UVA, the side windows let in about 63 percent of the sun's UVA radiation; rear windows are also unprotected, leaving back seat passengers exposed. There is, however, a solution. Transparent window film screens out almost 100 percent of UVB and UVA without reducing visibility, and is available in all 50 states. If you have window film installed, remember that it protects you only when the windows are closed.

2. Keep Sunscreen in the Car

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A sunscreen should be on hand for quick reapplication during long drives (The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying every two hours). Look for one with an SPF of 15+ and some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.


3. Skip the Sunroof, Skip the Convertible

Drivers' heads and necks receive the most UV exposure, so it's no surprise that Butler's team found over 82 percent of skin cancers on the patients' heads or necks. A solid, closed roof is your best bet. If you have a sunroof or a convertible top, wear a hat, preferably a wide-brimmed one (3" or greater all around). At the very least, be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed areas of the face, neck, and scalp.

The second most common area for skin cancers was the arm, so, in addition to applying sunscreen, avoid propping your elbow up on the open window while you drive-keep both arms inside the car, and your hands on the wheel. Long-sleeved shirts are also a great sun-protective option.

Keep a hat in the car, along with your sunscreen and UV-blocking sunglasses, and you'll have a sun protection travel kit to see you safely to your destination.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, “covering a total area of approximately 20 square feet!” It plays a fundamental role in keeping the human working properly, therefore it should be given plenty of attention and protection. Although drivers only expose a small portion of their skin while driving, the sun’s powerful UV rays can still cause severe damage. A study from Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (SCF) found that in the US, around 53% of skin cancers developed on the left side of the body. According to Susan T. Butler, MD, a coauthor of the study, "The increase in left-sided skin cancers may be from the UV exposure we get when driving a car."

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Sunshine can not only damage a driver’s skin, but it can also impair their vision while on the road, which may lead to car accidents that result in serious injuries. As reported by Business Today, “Extreme brightness and distracting reflections can impair visibility when driving and be the cause of a freak accident.” Sunglasses are an excellent option to help prevent accidents, and the most effective pair will also protect a driver’s eyes from UV-A and UV-B rays. Soon enough, snow will blanket Michigan once again, so enjoy that summer sun, but don’t skimp on the sunscreen and don’t forget to wear sunglasses!


With summer well underway, Michiganders are out on the road in full force, driving to the lake, going on road trips, and even just enjoying the snow-free open roads. With so many cars on the streets, car accidents are very likely to occur. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

Spring Pothole Dangers

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With yesterday's rain, the snow in Michigan has finally melted! While most Michiganders are rejoicing and excitedly anticipating Spring, they shouldn’t stop worrying just yet. As the temperatures rise, so do the chances of hitting potholes. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) warns that, “Potholes are created when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan's seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, creating a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens leading to a pothole."

Potholes are as Pure Michigan® as Vernor's® ginger ale! While many understand the usual dangers of potholes, most people just grin and bear it, and drive over potholes. However, potholes are unpredictable and there are still more unexpected dangers lurking in those holes on the road than people realize. Running over a pothole could have many different outcomes. Everyone knows that driving over a pothole can cause a flat tire. Even kicking up debris from the broken asphalt can damage the body of the car or break automotive glass. It’s also well known that swerving to avoid a pothole can potentially lead to being involved in a car accident, if the driver over-corrects into the next lane or into oncoming traffic. 

However, one other danger of potholes that even many veterans of Michigan’s roads may not know is that debris can be swept up by vehicles and released with enough force to land on the cars behind them. Concrete or asphalt can plummet onto innocent drivers who haven’t even touched the pothole! This happened to a woman who was driving westbound on I-696, on January 31, 2018, when a piece of concrete crashed through her windshield as she was heading to work, Fox News reported. Luckily, the woman was uninjured, as the piece of concrete sat in her passenger seat, and she was able to pull over at the next exit. This was the second time in January that concrete had hit a windshield on the expressway.

Not as lucky was another woman who also driving westbound on I-696 last May, according to Fox News, when a piece of concrete smashed through her windshield, hitting her directly in the head. The head injury caused a car crash because the woman lost consciousness and thereby control of her car and hit the vehicle next to her.

Both of these car accidents did not occur underneath an underpass-a more likely location for such accidents, as concrete tends to fall down and hit cars driving underneath. Both motor vehicle accidents occurred because cars in front of these ladies’ cars swept up debris and tossed it back on to them with tremendous enough force to go straight through their windshields. 

According to The Detroit News, MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross confirmed that these debris car accidents were due to potholes when she said, “The roads are crumbling and chances are any concrete came from there.” 

With so many pothole-corrupted, crumbling roads in Michigan, flying asphalt breaking windshields isn’t the only vehicle damage to worry about. Firestone Tires reports that there are many other types of pothole vehicle damages, such as:

Vehicle Damage Caused By Potholes 

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  • Tire puncture, damage or wear.
  • Wheel rim damage.
  • Premature wear on shocks and struts.
  • Suspension damage, including broken components.
  • Steering system misalignment.
  • Exhaust system damage.
  • Engine damage.

All of these types of vehicle damage due to potholes, not only put drivers in danger of being involved in a car crash, but also in danger of emptying out wallets. Vehicle repair is expensive enough that Michiganders would have to be prepared to hand over money saved for Tigers Opening Day tickets, to an auto body shop! If catching the game on TV sounds disappointing however, drivers may able to save money on potential pothole related car repairs by following tips given by Michigan.gov, on how drivers can avoid potholes, or what to do if you have no choice but to drive over a pothole. 

How To Drive Over Potholes With Minimal Car Damage

  1. Potholes aren't always obvious enough to spot in the daylight and they're even harder to spot in the dark. Make sure your headlights are working and your windshield is clear.
  2. Be extra cautious around puddles - they could be potholes filled with water. Since water is a critical component to forming potholes, that puddle may be at work creating one as you drive through it.
  3. Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel as potholes can cause your vehicle to change direction suddenly. Don't swerve into an occupied lane. No one wants pothole damage to escalate to an auto collision causing further damage or injury. 
  4. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over-inflated and under-inflated tires fare worse when they tangle with a pothole. Tires showing excessive wear or bulges in the sidewalls won't hold up as well to potholes either. 
  5. If you see a pothole ahead and can't safely steer to avoid it, it's best to slow down, then release the brakes before you hit the pothole. This helps to reduce the speed at impact as well as give your suspension the full range of travel to absorb the impact. If you can't avoid the pothole, straighten your wheel to hit it squarely and roll through. Hitting a pothole at an angle can transfer the energy of impact in ways more likely to damage your vehicle. 
  6. Have your vehicle's suspension and steering components checked out by a qualified mechanic. Steering that is in good condition and responsive can help you avoid hitting potholes. Remember that shocks, struts and springs in good shape help cushion the blow. 

Trying to avoiding a pothole can sometimes be impossible and extremely dangerous. While these tips may help prevent most pothole car accidents, no number of precautions can guarantee that road damage related car crashes won’t occur. As Lieutenant Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police stated in relation to one particular pothole debris car accident, “When something happens that fast, there’s nothing to do.” 


Potholes can lead to expensive vehicle damage, dangerous car accidents, and even serious car crash injuries. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor accident due to potholes or unsafe road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM today, for a free consultation with an experienced accident attorney.