According to US Climate Data, the state of Michigan experiences around 51 inches of snowfall annually. In December, average low temperatures in Michigan are 34 degrees. In January, average lows are 30 degrees and in February the average lows are 33 degrees. Snow usually starts in around October or November and continues through until March or even April, with the snowiest months including December, January, and February.
Whenever snow falls in Michigan, motorists could face an increased collision risk, particularly at intersections. Intersections are dangerous places during storms because many cars converge and are in close proximity, which creates a substantial collision risk if drivers cannot see or if any motorist loses control. Drivers need to be aware of winter-weather dangers and should follow best practices for safety to try to stop crashes from occurring.
While there are lots of different things that motorists can and should do to try to reduce the chances of a crash happening during the winter, five key tips for motorists to consider include:
- Slow down when driving when it is snowy or icy: Drivers are expected to drive at a safe speed, even if that speed is below posted limits. Reduce your speed if you are on icy roads or if you find your visibility is impaired by falling snow or freezing rain.
- Be aware of where black ice is most likely to form: Black ice tends to form near bridges, in shady spots that do not get a lot of sun, at intersections, and under overpasses. It is hard to see black ice, so you need to be aware of where you are most likely to encounter it.
- Leave space between you and other cars, especially at intersections: You do not want to be confined too closely with other cars and have no place to go if a motorist's vehicle is about to hit you due to the driver losing control of the vehicle.
- Know how to steer in case your car starts to lose control: When you feel as though your rear wheels on your car are starting to skid, you must react. Pump your anti-lock brakes gently and, if you can, try to steer in the direction that you would like the car's front wheels to go.
- Don't underestimate the risks of bad weather: Don't assume you're immune from accidents even if you drive in bad weather a lot and think you're good at it. NPR showed a viral video recently demonstrating that even snow plow drivers can be bested by bad weather and could end up in a multi-vehicle accident as a result.
While these five tips are not going to prevent every accident during winter storms, at least following this safety advice could potentially help to reduce the chances of crashes at intersections and on other icy roadways.