Lake effect snow causing pileups on both sides of I-94

Posted at 10:50 AM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 21:41:40-05

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. — Wednesday’s Lake Effect snow leading to a pair of pileups on Interstate 94 near the Hartford exit.

“The drivers are typically driving too fast for these conditions,” said F/Lt. Dale Hinz with the Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post. “They end up following too closely and it results in those chain-reaction crashes like we saw again today.”

Those crashes happened on both sides of the highway. F/Lt. Hinz said the crash on the westbound lanes involved eight cars and three semi trucks. The other side looked the same.

“I-94, as we’re familiar with, starts getting a little bit greasy and slippery when we get that heavier lake effect snow,” said F/Lt. Hinz. “When people aren’t adjusting their driving accordingly we get the multi-vehicle crashes.”

It’s what happened on New Years Eve, he said. There were a number of small accidents that day. State police had to shut down almost a 20-mile stretch just to clean them all up.

"I get asked a lot: what does driving too fast for conditions mean," said F/Lt. Hinz. "It means you can’t stop. That's the bottom line. You have to be able to drive your vehicle at a proven speed that allows you to stop if you need to."

F/Lt. Hinz said fortunately there's only been minor injuries in all the crashes this winter season. A Coloma Township police officer was seriously injured in one Wednesday morning. According to the department's Facebook page a semi-truck slammed into his patrol unit while the officer was clearing one scene. He was taken to the hospital, released and is now resting at home. F/Lt. Hinz's suggestion for everyone is to take it slow.

"I know that people will cut you off," said F/Lt. Hinz. "I know that people will drive faster than what you want to drive out there on I-94. That's fine. Let 'em go. Just keep your following distance and adjust your following distance."