Winter isn’t time for life in the fast lane

Many people say the pace of life in the U.P. is slower. That may not be the case for U.P. motorists traveling on winter roads. According to a to a Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning review, most auto accidents in the winter are caused by motorists going too fast for road conditions.

Today is Halloween, and anyone that has lived in the U.P. for a length of time knows that snow could blanket the ground at any time at this point in the year. The days without ice and snow on the roads are numbered. That’s a fact.

It’s time to get in the frame of mind for winter driving. use common sense. Go slower when icy and snowy roads make it necessary – even if you have four wheel drive.

That’s the message the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning’s Drive Slow On Ice and Snow campaign is sending. It’s objective is to help reduce weather-related crashes, injuries and traffic deaths by providing the public with information. The effort is focused in the U.P. because this area experiences the longest and harshest winter driving conditions in the state.

Slowing down in inclement weather is key to avoiding a weather-related crash, according to Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. Motorists should also leave extra room between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them as it takes longer to stop on a snow-covered or icy roadway.”

A five-year review of U.P. crash statistics indicated:

– The majority of winter driving crashes can be attributed to drivers going too fast for the roadway conditions. When this happens, drivers can lose control and begin to leave the roadway.

– Men and women are equally involved in winter weather crashes

– Most crashes involve drivers 41 and older

– Weather-related crashes are focused in Marquette, Houghton, Chippewa and Alger counties

– Most weather-related crashes occur in December and January

Bottom line – using common sense, patience and slowing down is your best insurance against being involved in a winter-related auto accident.