MARQUETTE COUNTY — Winter is here and it brings beautiful snow but also dangerous driving conditions. The Michigan State Police are reminding motorists to be very careful when out on the roads this winter.
The handling capability of vehicles is drastically reduced in winter weather, so it is best to use a slower speed to compensate for decreased handling and visibility while in the elements.
“Either a lot of snow on top of the vehicle can cause bad visibility,” explained Trooper Stacey Rasanen, Michigan State Police. “If the car goes forward and hit the brakes all of that snow goes forward. Which then it could cause someone to run into somebody because they can’t see where they are going. This can happen when people just don’t take the time to actually allow their vehicle to warm up and not scrape off the ice. We need to do this stuff before going on the road.”
It’s also important to keep distance between other drivers while out on the roads. Ice can form on road surfaces, however, anytime the air temperature drops to below freezing, especially when it is windy.
Bridges, underpasses, and roundabouts can be especially hazardous, but these are not the only locations “black ice” can form.
“What we are seeing out there is that people are just going too fast,” said Trooper Rasanen. “We want to remind people to slow down and give themselves a lot of stopping time. Sometimes it takes up to ten times the room to stop your vehicle.”
Any low or shaded area, area surrounded by landscape, or area that has a source of water running over the pavement can also be quick to form ice.
Early morning hours are especially dangerous as the moisture has had an opportunity to sit on the cold pavement and freeze. At intersections the moisture emitting from the exhaust of cars waiting at a traffic light quickly freezes on the pavement and can be especially hazardous. Looking ahead at weather advisories before going out on the roads is recommended as well.