During and after snowfall, use caution on roadways

Posted at 2:38 PM, Feb 01, 2017

Even after the snowfall mid-Michigan received earlier this week, drivers should still use caution as the temperatures rise and fall. And, watch out for plow trucks as they continue to salt and plow roadways.

“We are currently having an up-and-down winter,” said Jackson County Undersheriff Christopher Kuhl. “And that is the most dangerous time, when the ground is warm and gets wet, it can freeze quickly.”

As the ground warms up during the day and get wet with the warm weather and sunlight, that can cause areas to ice over quickly when the temperatures drop below freezing during the night, Kuhl said.

He says to take precautions while driving, and always allow extra space to the vehicle in front, and also keep some items in your vehicle in case you slide off like a shovel, blanket and even cat litter to help if stuck. Especially if you are traveling in rural areas.

“Be careful. Be slow and take your time,” Kuhl said. “Especially when there is reduced visibility. While the accidents have died down, we are still seeing some.”

Kuhl added that while there are still slide-offs, there also have been a couple reports of plow trucks being rear-ended.

“You have to take into consideration that they will be making tricky maneuvers,” Kuhl said. “They may also be driving part way down the lane to clear the shoulder. Give them room, give yourself more following distance, and don’t try to overtake them. We have had a couple situations, but just keep in mind they are clearing a path for you.”

Even though snow may not be visible on the ground, drivers should also be mindful of black ice on the roads.

“During these freeze-thaw cycles where it is warm during the day and then cold at night, there will be some icy patches,” Kuhl said.

He added that also while driving, there may be some slushy areas, which can have a vehicle hydroplane just as easily, if not more, than water on the roadway. Hydroplaning can make a driver lose control of their vehicle, and make it harder to turn or brake.