Good driving in bad weather
Good driving habits are especially important as winter weather conditions return to Michigan. Motorists should allow extra space between vehicles, and that includes snowplows.
Snowplow drivers need ample room in front and behind their vehicles in order to safely clear snow and ice from many miles of roadway.
"Road crews put their lives on the line every day to keep Michigan roads safe for everyone," said Kirk T. Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and chair of UMTRI's external advisory board. He added that motorists must drive with caution even if a road has recently been salted and plowed.
MDOT and the County Road Association of Michigan (CRAM) have started their annual education campaign urging motorists to practice good driving habits in winter and give snowplows "room to groom."
"Motorists must do their best to minimize distractions and focus on driving and changes in road conditions," said John Niemela, director of CRAM. "Every year, despite the flashing lights on snowplow trucks, poor driver behavior near snowplows leads to collisions that can be deadly."
MDOT and CRAM offer the following reminders for motorists:
- Snowplows have limited visibility and drivers cannot see directly behind their trucks;
- Snowplows often throw up snow clouds, reducing visibility on all sides of the truck;
- Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Motorists should not text or talk on cell phones while they are behind the wheel. Remember: Texting while driving is illegal in Michigan.
- Motorists should never attempt to pass a moving snowplow on the right. With new wing-plow technology, the blade can clear the shoulder and the lane of travel simultaneously. Motorists attempting an illegal pass through a snow cloud on the right and/or shoulder of the road most likely won't see the plow blade and run the risk of a serious crash;
- Always wear your safety belt and allow extra time to reach your destinations this winter.
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