The Michigan winter is in full swing, and that means everyone on the road can expect trouble in the months ahead. Rain and snow reduce visibility and make surfaces slick, which limits drivers’ ability to control their vehicles and increases braking distances.
With vehicles forced to move more slowly for safety, the roads get more congested and tempers can flare as motorists become frustrated. That’s a dangerous combination.
Are We the Worst State for Winter?
If you think winter driving in Michigan is even worse than other places, it’s not just your perception—it’s true. Last year, AAA Michigan pointed out that our state’s roads have been the most dangerous in the country during winter storm conditions.
A report AAA cited found that, while the rest of the country averages about 3 percent of traffic fatalities due to winter weather, that figure has reached 10 percent in Michigan recently. The average number of crash deaths per year blamed on winter weather (96) was the highest of any state.
A Few Simple Steps for Safety
AAA circulates a brochure full of winter driving advice, but paying attention to just a few basic things can help you avoid serious trouble. Before winter even arrives, make sure you’re ready: Keep your battery charged, your lights working, your wiper blades in good shape, and your tires in good condition and properly inflated. (It’s a myth that lower tire pressure gives you better traction in snow: It actually reduces control, further increases braking distance, and accelerates the wear on your tires.)
Remember the basics once you’re on the road: Drive more slowly, try not to speed up or slow down too quickly, and leave five to six seconds of braking distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. That’s double what most drivers normally need in good weather.
AAA and others also recommend not using cruise control in poor weather: Even automatic collision warning systems aren’t yet up to the task of protecting you in these conditions.
It’s the Driver’s Fault, Not the Weather’s
If you get into an accident in bad weather, your first instinct might be to blame the weather, but the fault might lie elsewhere. At this time of year, the Michigan Department of Transportation reminds drivers that state traffic law requires them to operate at “careful and prudent” speeds, despite the posted limit. It’s the driver’s responsibility to operate safely for the conditions.
While that can work against you if you cause a crash, it can work in your favor when you’re a victim. Drivers too often ignore basic safety under normal conditions, and when the weather is a factor, it’s incumbent on drivers to show that their actions didn’t contribute to an accident or injury.
Detroit Car Accident Lawyer
When you’ve been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, your main concern is getting back on your feet. You have injuries to recover from, damaged property to restore, and possibly lost wages and income to replace. The experienced Detroit car accident law team at Christensen Law can help, whether the accident was the result or poor weather, distraction, operating under the influence, or something else.
Join the countless clients we’ve helped over the years by calling now to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation today. You can call us at 248-213-4900, or you can get in touch via the form below.