Since September, Michigan State Police (MSP) Brighton Post troopers have had three close calls while policing traffic crashes. The most recent crash occurred on Feb. 9 during the winter storm when a Brighton Post sergeant’s patrol vehicle was struck by a passing vehicle.
The sergeant was assisting a motorist who lost control and was stuck in the median on US-23 SB near Geddes Road in Washtenaw County when the crash occurred. The sergeant had his emergency lights activated and had just requested a wrecker for the disabled motorist when a southbound driver lost control and struck the sergeant’s patrol car. The sergeant was transported by ambulance to U of M Hospital where he was treated and released with a concussion. The driver and his passenger were not injured in the crash.
Before that, on Dec. 15, 2017, a trooper was assisting a motorist who lost control and was stuck in the median on I-96 EB near Fowlerville Road in Livingston County when he was struck by a vehicle. In this situation, both the patrol vehicle and a tow truck that was also on-scene had their emergency lights activated at the time of the incident. The trooper’s vehicle was positioned to block approximately three-quarters of the left lane to help protect the disabled motorist and tow truck when an eastbound driver failed to move over to the right lane and struck the patrol car causing the patrol car to hit the trooper who was outside of his vehicle. The trooper was transported to St. Joe’s Hospital in Howell where he was treated and released with minor injuries. The driver was also injured and was transported to the hospital.
Lastly, on Sept. 7, 2017, a trooper from the Brighton Post was policing a traffic crash on I-94 EB near Kalmbach Road in Washtenaw County when a driver lost control on the wet pavement and struck the back of the patrol car. The trooper’s vehicle had its emergency lights activated at the time of the crash. The trooper and driver were not injured.
“When drivers are involved in a crash in adverse weather conditions, often times the first thing they want to blame is the weather or the road condition,” stated Lt. Mario Gonzales, assistant post commander of the Brighton Post. “Weather and road condition may be factors in a crash, but the responsibility for maintaining control of the vehicle in all situations lies solely with the driver.”
Gonzales added, “Michigan law states that in poor weather situations, drivers must reduce their speed in order to maintain control of their vehicle. I often hear drivers remark that they weren’t even going the speed limit at the time of crash, but it should be noted that the speed limit is whatever speed allows you to maintain control of your vehicle in the situation. The main message I want to get across is to please slow down when weather conditions are bad, and remember that state law requires motorists to move over when possible for emergency vehicles with lights activated or slow down and proceed with caution if changing lanes is not possible.”
Other tips for safe winter driving include:
- Check the weather before leaving for a destination. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, reschedule or postpone the driving trip, if possible.
- Take extra precautions when stopping and turning in adverse weather conditions. Remember to do all of your braking before the turn is made and take the proper line of travel through the turn to reduce the potential for skidding. If your vehicle begins to skid, let off the throttle and brakes and turn the front tires in the direction you want to go.
- Do not crowd snowplows; give snowplow drivers plenty of room to clear snow from the roadway.
- Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.
- Make sure the windshield solvent reservoir is full and check the condition of all wiper blades and replace when necessary.
- Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and license plate before driving.