Safe driving tips for Michigan winters

It’s looking like winter may have arrived to stay for a while here in northern lower Michigan.

That makes it a great time to review what drivers should expect during winter storm events and what their responsibilities are for getting to their destinations safely.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State Police (MSP) have partnered together to produce a new video with information on how roads are maintained each winter and the actions motorists should take now to be prepared for inclement driving conditions.

“Maintenance workers at the state and local levels have years of experience and improved technology at their disposal for dealing with winter weather, but they’re not miracle workers,” said MDOT Engineer of Operations Mark Geib. “We want drivers to know that we’ll be out working to clear roads as quickly as possible, but they share a responsibility for safety when they venture out.”

“Driving too fast for conditions is the number one cause of traffic crashes during winter weather,” said MSP State Services Bureau Spl/F/Lt. Jim Flegel. “It is every driver’s responsibility to maintain control of their vehicle at all times and the best way to compensate for reduced traction is to slow down and increase your following distance.”

The video also covers:

  • New winter maintenance technologies, such as equipment that gathers atmospheric data and camera images from plow trucks
  • How drivers can see what plow truck operators see through the Mi Drive travel information website, and see their position on state routes in real time
  • Information on how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving, such as making sure tires are in good condition and that all snow and ice has been cleared from your vehicle before heading onto the road
  • Why drivers should give plow operators extra space, and consider staying behind them in winter storms
  • The use of green lights on plow trucks
  • Michigan’s Move Over Law, which requires motorists to move over for stationary emergency vehicles with their lights activated or slow down and pass with caution if it is not possible to safely change lanes
  • Other reminders for winter driving, such as avoiding distractions, using headlights during winter weather, and leaving extra space between vehicles