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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. 

How To Get Vehicles Ready For Winter Driving

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With winter here and snow on the way, and knowing Michigan's reputation for brutal winters, it’s important for citizens of Michiganders to make sure their cars are prepared for winter driving. Just as people spend extra time layering on jackets and gloves and scarves, extra time needs to be taken to prepare cars for colder temperatures as well.

Since we can’t control the weather, and we really can’t control how other people drive in it and what winter car accidents may occur as a result, we need to be in control of how well taken care of our vehicles are. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducted an analysis of critical reasons for motor vehicle accidents, problems related to the vehicle accounted for 44,000 accidents over the span of two years. While this may not seem like a lot when compared to accidents caused by human error, there are more preventative measures that can be taken when it comes to vehicle-related causes to make them avoidable. And while winterizing your car won’t necessarily keep drivers out of any automobile accidents over the coming the months, it can help to ensure that your car runs as smoothly as possible in colder temperatures.

Of those 44,000 accidents, tires and wheels, along with brakes, were the biggest culprits in causing car crashes. Steering, suspension, transmission, and engine-related problems all accounted for a smaller percentage of the automobile accidents. All of these car parts, regardless of how many car accidents they may cause, are aspects that driver’s should pay extra attention to as the winter season is nearly in full swing. DMV.org suggests the following tips for getting your vehicle ready for winter driving.

How To Get Your Car Ready For Winter

Coolant: It is especially important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual for information on this mixture. Pick up a tester at an auto parts store and make sure the fluid is filled to the maximum line.

Oil: Some mechanics recommend switching to a thinner oil if you live where temperatures drop below freezing. Your best bet is to consult your owner's manual or talk to your mechanic.

Wiper Fluid: Often overlooked, you'll need freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and your vision clear.

Inspect or Replace Your Tires: Low air pressure and worn tires are especially dangerous on wet or slick roads, as both can reduce traction

Snow Tires: Mounting the right tires on your car or truck can give you a huge advantage when trekking through snow. Many car makers and tire manufacturers recommend changing all four tires to snow tires in the winter. If you don't swap all four, the difference between snow and summer tires can cause other problems for your vehicle.

Cold Weather & Battery Capacity: It isn't only your engine that doesn't like to start in the winter. Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather, too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter.

Pack an Emergency Kit: Items to include in your winter safety kit include a flashlight, blanket, leather gloves, hat, bag of kitty litter or sand, ice scraper and brush, small shovel, safe and leak-proof container of coolant, and snacks.

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This list for winterizing a car is extensive and may seem a little overwhelming, but properly maintaining your car is a part of being a car owner, and is especially important in the winter months to help avoid getting into winter weather car accidents. While no amount of preparation can guarantee your car won’t break down or that you won't be involved in a motor vehicle collision, it can help prevent things that are easily avoidable. Winterize your car, take extra precautions when driving in winter weather conditions, and be prepared for a heavy holiday traffic this winter. It may not feel like it, but winter won’t last forever, and clear, sunny driving conditions will be back soon!


Winter driving is inherently more dangerous than driving during other times of the year. With snow, sleet, and ice already complicating driving over the next few months, the last thing drivers need is an easily preventable vehicle malfunction that makes them careen into a ditch or get into a motor vehicle accident. If you get injured in a car crash this winter, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney. 

Police Pull Over Vehicle Transporting Giant Christmas Tree

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Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, our attention turns to Christmas. And kicking off the Christmas season usually means heading out and picking out the perfect Christmas tree. Chopping down the tree provides for some great photo ops, and decorating the tree often calls for Christmas music and hot chocolate. But the in between time - getting the tree home - is possibly the most crucial part of the process, but often doesn’t get as much attention. Transporting your Christmas tree safely is crucial not only to keep the tree in good shape, but also for keeping everyone on the road safe.

One driver learned the importance of Christmas tree travel safety the hard way. According to local news outlets, police in Massachusetts pulled over a vehicle that was transporting a mammoth sized Christmas tree. The tree was spilling over the roof of the vehicle, with the vast majority of the vehicle not even visible. In a now viral Facebook post that's been shared thousands of times, the local police department stated that “Sudbury PD would like to remind you to transport your Holiday trees responsibility.” The incident occurred on Route 20, about 25 miles west of Boston. It’s unclear if the driver actually received a citation, or just a warning.

The danger in transporting a large tree on top of a car should be obvious. A 7-feet tall Douglas Fir can drape over the windows and windshields, drastically limiting the driver’s visibility (if not obscuring it completely). The heavy weight could very likely be too much for the vehicle, slowing it down and disrupting the flow of the traffic. Should the tree come loose from the car, it could hit another vehicle on the road, or block the road, causing cars to try and swerve out of the way, likely causing an automobile accident. So, to safely transport your Christmas tree home, check out this recent blog post from The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.

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Picking out the family Christmas tree is a quintessential part of the holiday season. And while safely securing the tree to your vehicle may not be the highest priority or the most fun thing to be doing while celebrating the holiday, it is crucial. A poorly secured tree can not only damage the tree and/or your vehicle, but can endanger your life, the lives of everyone traveling in your vehicle, and other drivers on the road. This Christmas, you want to call your lawyer to convey well wishes, not to embarrassingly tell them you caused a car crash because your Christmas tree fell off your car and landed on top of another!


Car crashes are always devastating, but can be particularly damaging to the spirit during the holiday season. Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation if you've been involved in a car accident. Our experienced attorneys will handle your legal woes while you focus on spending this joyous time with your loved ones.

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.

40 Car Pileup On I-96 Causes 3 Deaths

Around 9:30 AM on Thursday, December 8, 2016, Michigan's Livingston County Police dealt with a 40 car pileup that left 3 dead and 11 injured on the westbound side of I-96 between the the Okemos and Williamston exits. The pileup was a result of the recent snowfall causing whiteout conditions and had later frozen over the roads making them a hazard. 

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“It was very chaotic for them to get to the victims to assess the situation,” Livingston County's Lt. Eric Sanborn said at a news conference.

When the police finally arrived to the scene, they found a semi-truck that had been jackknifed across the majority of the lanes on I-96. They counted about a dozen vehicles that were scattered across ditches. Some drivers were located on the median or shoulder of the highway and several dozen other vehicles were found to be severely damaged and had to be quickly removed from the road. 

Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer

The accident was so extensive, that the police closed down both the east and westbound lanes in order to rescue the cars that had slid into the median. Authorities also had to extend westbound I-96’s closure from M-59 to M-52 until later that evening, in order to properly remove the vehicles from the roadway. The eastbound expressway later opened for traffic at 2:50 PM.

Kathleen Gray, a Detroit Free Press reporter, was headed to Lansing, Michigan when she encountered the accident. She said the pileup caused "the most terrifying sound" she ever heard. Gray herself was almost hit by a tractor-trailer that skid on the ice behind her and was unable to flee due to traffic being at a standstill. "Fortunately, he was able to stop before plowing into me," Gray said, noting that "it probably took about an hour to get through the accident scene. Traffic was able to pull around the jackknifed tractor-trailer on the shoulder of the freeway."

With this recent snowfall and future ones in Michigan's forecast, drivers should let this accident serve as a grim reminder to drive slow, when there is snow.


As stated by the Free Press, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced that they, along with several road commissions and municipalities, will start using green lights on winter maintenance vehicles, which they hope will better catch drivers' attention and help reduce car crashes. No matter what precautions are taken however, car accidents are still always possible. If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident caused by hazardous weather conditions, please contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Call us, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.