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.

Tips For Driving Over Potholes

It seems as though the freezing temperatures are finally a thing of the past! We've actually had snow in April for the last few weeks, but Michiganders are all preparing themselves for some warm weather that’s headed this way. The warm weather comes with a cost though: Potholes. Potholes are nothing new to Michigan residents, but drivers everywhere are dreading popping a tire or wrecking their car's suspension on the pockmarked roads this Spring.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says, "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." While trying to avoid potholes is a good idea to prevent vehicle damage, dodging all the potholes like your racing your friend in Mario Kart isn’t a good idea. Yes, you missed the pothole but you put yourself and other people at risk of getting into a car accident, since swerving erratically may cause you to sideswipe a car! Instead, by following these pothole driving tips by MDOT, you may be able to avoid pothole vehicle damage and car accidents!

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Tips For Driving Over Potholes

  1. Be Vigilant - it's best to avoid hitting potholes whenever possible. That's easier to do if you're driving cautiously, and not tailgating, so you have more time to see and react to any potholes you're approaching.
  2. Be Cautious Around Puddles - they could be potholes filled with water. Since water is a critical component to forming potholes,
  3. Slow Down - 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. 
  4. Vehicle Maintenance Helps - Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over- or under-inflated tires are worse when they tangle with a pothole.

There are some potholes that are small and can easily be driven over without any damage to your car and there are some that can be very deep and many feet wide. The above pothole tips may help drivers navigate potholes with minimal vehicle damage, but sometimes it's not possible to avoid pothole vehicle damage. The best way to avoid pothole damage to your vehicle may be to avoid experiencing road damage all together! By reporting potholes to MDOT, and because of the recently approved road repair budget, it’s possible that all potholes could be filled this Spring before they cause too much damage to cars and to car owners’ wallets. But, if you do find yourself having to shell out cash to your mechanic because you couldn’t avoid a crater in the road, there may be a possibility that you can be reimbursed by the State of Michigan for pothole vehicle damage. However drivers should keep in mind that, according to The Detroit Free Press, there is a 30-day window, from the time a pothole is reported to when it is fixed, when road commissions and municipal street departments can avoid responsibility for damaged vehicles. The State of Michigan reimbursed only 9 of the 267 pothole claims for $1,000 or less made during fiscal year 2017, according to MDOT, but it still may be worth a shot. 

Potholes can be reported on the MDOT website or by calling 888-296-4546.


Every year tons of potholes are filled in hopes of creating safer roads for people to drive on. But potholes are an unavoidable, never ending cycle that reemerge each year, which is why car accidents due to potholes and other types of road damage occur each year too. Road damage accidents not only cause serious damage to vehicles but can also cause serious injury to people. For a free legal consultation with an auto accident attorney regarding road damage car crashes or any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Springtime Is Here And So Is Allergy Season

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Springtime has been long awaited, but after it's arrival last Tuesday, many people have mixed feelings. On one hand, the sun stays out later and it gets warmer, much to our pleasure. But on the other hand, allergy season descends upon us. Runny noses and frequent coughing become the norm for the season, and tissue sales increase like Michigan gas prices. These reactions to allergies are quite annoying - but they may also be dangerous.

According to Canadian Pharmacy Meds, allergies, also known as Allergic rhinitis (AR), affect up to 30% of the adult population. However, many people don’t realize the possible dangers that may result from allergies. AR can decrease cognitive functions and can make even daily activities a difficult task. Untreated AR can even reduce driving ability and put the driver and others on the road at risk. Many people don’t usually consider something as commonplace as allergies to be the cause of a car crash, but a study reported in the July blog issue of United Allergy Services stated that many common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair one's driving ability. A coughing fit or watery eyes while driving could cause the driver’s attention to wander causing a distracted driving car accident. 

In the Allergy study, 19 people in the Netherlands were given a nasal spray or a placebo, and then exposed to grass/tree allergens or a placebo. Then they went on a 60-minute driving test with a camera attached to see how often the car veered towards the center lane. In the last 15 minutes of the drive, they were also given a verbal test while driving. As a result, those who weren’t treated for allergies and then exposed to them performed the worst at both the driving test and the verbal test. The participants’ driving was so impaired by allergies that they drove similarly to how someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.03% would drive! To help prevent allergy impaired driving, Canadian Pharmacy Meds recommends obtaining prescribed allergy medication for allergy season, and to start taking the medication before allergy season begins, to avoid suffering from allergy symptoms and potentially causing a car crash. Other ways to avoid the worst of allergy season are as listed:

Tips For Surviving Seasonal Allergies

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  • Keep all windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen.
  • Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
  • Limit your outside exposure when pollen counts are the highest. Stay inside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on warm and dry mornings, and throughout dry and windy days. The safest time for outdoor activities is immediately after a heavy rainfall.
  • Minimize contact with people, pets, and things that may bring pollen inside after spending excess time outdoors. Wipe down pets when they enter your home after being outside if you can’t avoid them.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. In severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.
  • Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen.
  • Remove your work clothes and shoes as soon as you get home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to trigger your symptoms. Take off your shoes outside the door before entering. Throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else.
  • Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
  • Shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen and keep it off your bedding.
  • Gargling with salt water once or twice a day throughout allergy season can ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Take symptoms seriously. If you feel lousy, rest, go to bed early, or take a sick day. Overexertion will only make you feel worse.

These tips may help those with severe allergies avoid the worst of the symptoms. Many people don’t see how common allergies could be dangerous rather than merely an annoyance. Being cautious and prepared for the upcoming allergy season may aid in avoiding allergy impaired driving and help people avoid an auto accident.


Spring is a time of happiness to many. The sun stays out later, flowers bloom, and warmth returns. Also returning, unfortunately, is allergy season. While suffering from allergies can be irritating, they may also be dangerous in the event that allergies impair driving abilities. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

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.

Drowsy Driving Dangers During Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is coming up this upcoming Sunday, March 11, 2018. Unfortunately, the hour we will be losing as we “spring forward,” is an unpleasant experience. Many people wake up thinking they have more time because of the lack of light outside, only to remember that DST just occurred and they need to get up immediately, in order to make it to work on time. Beginning our day an hour earlier may be annoying but it can also be dangerous. The sun comes up later in the day, causing the morning commute to be darker and proving drivers with less visibility than they are used to. People may become exhausted as they begin their day an hour early and may get onto the road with heavy eyes and sleep-deprived minds. A tired and dark morning are two factors that can lead to car accidents.

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According to The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), our society is chronically sleep deprived, and the hour change after DST does not help with that. Both “spring ahead” and “fall back” are equivalent to the jet lag that occurs when traveling to a different time zone, and even an hour can make a massive difference in energy. These changes tinker with our sleep cycle and it may take at least 5 days for our bodies to get accustomed to them. During those 5 days, the road will have inattentive, drowsy drivers with drooping eyes, who will be waking an hour earlier than they are used to, in order to get to work or school on time.

Drowsy driving due to DST afflicts so many people that a Johns Hopkins Hospital and Standford University study from 1999 reported that the Monday after “spring forward” resulted in an average increase in car accidents, jumping from the average of 72.8% rate of a usual Monday to 83.5% the Monday after DST. That is a 10.7% increase on the Monday after spring DST, which is a shocking increase in car accidents in one day every year! 

Along the lines of NEJM's findings, Richard P. Allen, a Johns Hopkins neurologist who oversaw the study, told Vox, "We didn’t expect to see anything, actually. To me it was really amazing that one hour made that difference." According to Vox, "Allen stresses that a one-hour sleep disruption will be more severe for someone who is already sleep-deprived. "A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," he says. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area."

Another study by the University of Colorado Boulder also confirmed DST’s role in the rise of motor vehicle accidents, when it reported that in the first six days after DST, there were 302 motor vehicle accident deaths in 2007. The Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) also found a 17% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after losing an hour, because of DST in 2007. These newer statistics means that there has been a 6.3% increase in the number of DST car crashes, since the study conducted by Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1999. These results show the significant difference that losing an hour sleep can make to our driving, before our bodies become accustomed to the time change, and how the percentage of DST car accidents may be increasing over time.

Luckily, the Johns Hopkins and Stanford study also showed that by the end of the week after DST, the number of car accidents settled back to nearly the usual number of car crashes as the Monday before DST occurred. Perhaps this is because drivers have had the 5 days they needed to get adjusted to their new sleep cycles, and therefore were attentive enough to avoid car accidents. 

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People who are especially vulnerable to the changing sleep cycle during DST are those who get 6 or less hours of sleep. They are already sleep deprived and losing an additional hour of sleep due to DST can make a bigger difference in these peoples’ abilities to drive safely. What we can take away from these DST car accident studies according to Vox is that, "even small decreases in our sleep times can stress our bodies. And good sleep increasingly is seen as a subtle yet critical component of our health...To prepare for a rough Monday after the clock change, it's a good idea to get enough sleep in the days leading up to it." It's better to get catch some extra z's than to chug coffee and cause car accidents!


If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our Michigan personal injury lawyers are ready to talk to you about your claims.