A new traffic safety campaign is encouraging Upper Peninsula drivers to slow down in snow or icy driving conditions. The campaign is sponsored by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and is supported with federal traffic safety funds.
The effort includes radio and TV public service announcements and flyers. The ads can be viewed at www.youtube.com/ohsp.
At a kick-off for the campaign on Tuesday, officials said it is most important for drivers to allow extra time for travel and to keep up on their vehicle maintenance. Jamie Dolan, the regional director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said a focus of the campaign is telling drivers that snow and ice actually aren't the cause of most crashes in winter.
"But the reality is that it's the driver who's driving too fast for the conditions at the time," said Dolan.
Jim Leist, of Whistler's Garage and Towing Company, said making sure your car has plenty of gas is very important.
"Cruise control really should be avoided unless you're driving on very clear roads, but even then you don't know about black ice," said Leist.
Officials are also reminding drivers that roads are most slippery when the thermometer hovers around freezing. They also recommend giving yourself ten extra car lengths to stop in snowy or icy weather.
A five-year review of U.P. crash statistics indicated that men and women are equally involved in winter weather crashes, most crashes involve drivers 41 and older, and weather-related crashes are focused in Houghton, Marquette and Alger counties.
Drivers can always check the road conditions through the Michigan State Police web site.
These numbers below also provide road condition updates:
1-800-381-8477 - Michigan State Police ext. 71-800-411-4823 - AAA of Michigan1-866-511-9472 - AAA of Wisconsin