Dangerously dry roads contribute to deadly accident in Allegan County

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 09:22:00-04

ALLEGAN, Mich. - The Allegan County Sheriff's Department is warning about the dangers of driving down those back roads too fast.

Investigators say speed played a factor in the rollover that took the life of one Allegan County teenager and sent another to the hospital on Friday. This is prompting a warning from investigators to slow down on dirt roads.

Dry dirt roads are just as dangerous as icy winter ones.

Allegan County Sheriff's Department Captain Chris Kuhn says you still need to be careful.

“When it gets this dry for this long, the surface of these rural gravel roads, and the dirt or the gravel starts to breaks down, it makes a pretty slick cocktail, where you can lose control of your car pretty easily,” Kuhn said.

Dust shows how dry and dangerous the conditions are.

“Part of that is the roadway surface starts to break down and create a ripple effect, called a wash board surface,” Kuhn said. 

Steering can actually make it easier to lose control of your car.

“We would suggest, any time you feel the car getting disrupted our going too fast, take your foot off the accelerator, and not steer,” Kuhn said. 

The speed limit on dirt roads are usually around 45-55 miles per hour. Captain Kuhn says right now you should be driving around half that.

“That’s under perfect conditions. Right now, there isn’t a dirt road in Allegan county that has perfect conditions on it,” Kuhn said. 

Counties can go through and spray roadways down with a solution to help prevent dust and keep roads in good shape, but with how dry things have been the last few weeks, authorities say your best bet is to just slow down.