The days are getting longer, but we're not out of the woods yet. There is still plenty more winter where this one came from.
Temperatures in the Dickinson County area are expected to moderate somewhat, up to the single digits at night, but there will also be some more below zero weather ahead.
Meantime, forecasters are predicting more snow for the area over the next couple of days.
If we haven't learned already, we need to slow down in winter
The Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Transportation are reminding motorists to slow down and drive to road surface and weather conditions this winter.
"Driving too fast for conditions is the number one cause of traffic crashes during inclement weather," said MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. "Drivers should slow down and pay attention to the condition of the road. Don't get frustrated with the weather. Plan ahead and give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination. Troopers responded to more than 5,200 traffic crashes just during the month of January, nearly 1,100 more crashes than January of last year."
"All the technology in the word cannot make up for paying attention to changing road surface and weather conditions," said MDOT Director Kirk T. Steudle. "More than ever, it's vital for drivers to keep distractions to a minimum, wear their seat belts, and give plows room to groom. Don't turn on your cruise control when roads are snow covered or icy. MDOT workers are working hard and using all the equipment and materials at their disposal to keep roads clear, but all that work and preparation is wasted when drivers forget to be careful on the roads. This is an extraordinary winter that requires drivers to maintain control of their vehicles at all times, for their own safety and the safety of everyone else on the road."
The Michigan State Police operates a Winter Travel Advisory website with state highway and freeway road conditions at www.michigan.gov/roadconditions. Condition reports also are available at the MSP Winter Travel Advisory Hotline at 800-381-8477.
Up-to-date road closings, traffic incidents, traffic speeds, and traffic camera views can be found on the Michigan Department of Transportation's Mi Drive website: www.michigan.gov/drive (from your computer, mobile device, or smartphone).
The public can sign up for traffic alerts and road closing notices from MDOT at www.michigan.gov/mdot. Just click on the red envelope icon on the menu to the left of the page. Safe driving tips, winter level of service maps for state routes, helpful videos, and charts are posted on the Roads and Travel section of the site as well.
Steudle reminds drivers that extreme cold limits the tools road agencies can use, rendering salt ineffective at temperatures below 20 degrees.
To continue to apply salt at very low temperatures will accelerate the refreezing process and worsen road conditions.
He also cautions drivers to never attempt to pass a moving snowplow on the right.
With new wing plows and tow plows, 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, running the risk of a serious crash.
- MSP and MDOT remind motorists to follow Michigan's Basic Speed Law, which may require driving slower than the posted speed limit.
- MSP's Winter Travel Advisory website: www.michigan.gov/roadconditions.
- MDOT Mi Drive traffic website: www.michigan.gov/drive.