MSP: Slow down, pay attention, as clear roads do not mean they're not icy

Posted at 3:07 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 17:18:30-05

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. — As snow continues to fall, state police and road crews are continuing to stress the importance of taking it slow if you have to be out on the roads.

Much of Interstate 94 around Mattawan remained clear on Friday as road crews continued to work around the clock to keep them that way as snow continued to fall.

RELATED: Lakeshore among hardest area hit by snowfall; more on the way

Michigan State Police said even with the "clear-looking roads," it doesn't mean you should drive at normal speeds, as it is easier to lose control.

"If you are going too fast for conditions and you have to abruptly stop, your chance of losing control goes up exponentially," said Michigan State Police Public Information Officer SPL/Lt. DuWayne Robinson.

The Michigan State Police have extra troopers out in winter weather, and this storm is no different, especially as road conditions worsen and accidents become more likely.

"The major cause of crashes is human behavior. Drivers need to adjust as needed. Everyone can see the snow is blowing across the roadways, the temperature is 14 degrees; so that means everything that is melting is freezing on the spot," said Lt. Robinson.

While Lt. Robinson said state troopers have been busy, thankfully it has only been for minor accidents.

"We’re definitely seeing accidents and slide-offs. Thankfully there has not been very many serious injury crashes, just basically a lot of people sliding off or just minimal damage to their cars," said Lt. Robinson.

In addition to the Michigan State Police, road crews with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) are also working hard trying to keep the roads as clear as possible.

"Temperatures being low, that makes it hard to get material off the road. We can salt a little bit, but when it gets down to 20 degrees or below, salt actually becomes counterproductive. Anything they salt, it melts. You can try to break that bond between the snow and the ice; it just refreezes," said a Michigan Department of Transportation Spokesperson Nick Schirripa.

In Southwest Michigan, MDOT said they have upwards of 70 plows on the road at any given time, and the safest place to be is a couple hundred yards behind them.

"Our plow drivers have a difficult job. Give them as much room as you can to do what they need to do," said Schirripa.

"The drivers that have to be out here, I would say this to you: you are not invincible. Know that you will lose control of your car if you don’t adjust your speed and your driving behavior," said Lt. Robinson.

If you do have to be out on the roads, you can check what conditions look like where you're heading. Click here to access MDOT's interactive map where you can take a live look at locations of plow trucks and what the road conditions look like from their point of view.

RELATED: Today's Forecast: Windy, cold, blustery, snowy

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