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Road conditions a factor in crash with severe injuries

As winter moves forward in Michigan, we all know that the road conditions can pose hazards for drivers. It is important to remember however that dangerous road conditions do not relieve drivers of their duty to drive safely.

A recent accident appears to have been related to poor road conditions. A 41-year-old mother and her 16-year-old daughter spun out on a bridge and went into the other lane. A Dodge truck hit their Chevrolet Lumina in the passenger side, sending the mother and daughter to the hospital with severe injuries. The driver of the truck hurt his hand in the accident. The crash happened at about 7:50 a.m. It had rained, and the temperatures were hovering just above freezing. While roads are not icy, bridges and overpasses tend to develop a coat of ice during such conditions.

According to police, at least four other accidents happened in that area within a 15-minute time frame. The police cars were even sliding and slipping on the slick area near and on the bridge.

To avoid such accidents when driving in near-freezing temperatures, slow down near bridges and overpasses, especially in the morning hours and near dusk. While other roads may not be slippery or have ice on them, bridges and overpasses always develop a coat of ice if there is water on the ground from rain or sleet.

Keep the tires on vehicles at the proper pressure. Keep snow and ice off your car so that other cars can see you better. Replace wipers as needed, including the rear wiper. Make sure all your lights are working properly.

Visibility is a large part of crashes. If you happen to spin out on black ice, other drivers could see you better if you make your vehicle more visible, and may be able to avoid hitting you. You should also keep matches, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a shovel, flares and salt in your vehicle, should you get stuck. Extra jackets and blankets may also save your life if you get stranded in a snow bank.

Source: Niles Daily Star, "Mother, daughter in serious condition," Craig Haupert, Dec. 30, 2011

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