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Michigan’s Unpredictable Weather Means Motorists Should Take Extra Care

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I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life, so our recent weather doesn’t surprise me much. About the only constant with Michigan weather is the fact that it’s constantly changing. Most of the time, the rapid changes are more annoying than dangerous, but this time of year is a little different. As temperatures hover around the freezing mark, road conditions can become extremely hazardous.

For the past week or so, moisture (in the form of rain, snow, or dew) has been accumulating on roadways. During the relatively warm daytime temps – often mid- to upper-30s – the liquid on the road tends to pool in certain areas. At night, when the mercury dips below 32 degrees, that liquid freezes into slippery and often undetectable “black ice.” Unfortunately, conditions are usually the worst during the morning rush hour. Earlier this week, black ice appears to have claimed two lives in separate single-vehicle accidents near White Lake. Icy roads have likely played a role in dozens more less serious crashes in the past two weeks.

Many Michigan motorists know by now that when you see ice and snow, take it slow. But even small, nearly imperceptible amounts of moisture can cause serious accidents. With temperatures dipping and spiking this time of year, err on the side of caution and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

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  1. Harvey McFadden says:
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    When looking at the cause of loss of control accidents it is advisable to look at the predictability of the vehicle in question. Everyone is aware that pickup trucks with a weight ratio front to rear of 60/40 need the best tires on the rear to prevent the back from sliding out in poor conditions.
    What is not evident to a casual observer are cars that have weight ratios more unbalanced than pickup’s. With a weight ratio of 65/35 a small car can weigh as much as a limo on the front and have only half as much weight on the rear. At this point the condition and the tread depth of the rear tires become’s critical to prevent the vehicle from getting sideways resulting in rollover or severe direction change. A vehicle with a weight ratio such as this will have four times the accidents of a 50/50 balanced car.

    There are some good videos on the Internet showing how important the rear tires of a vehicle are. Also the Society of Automotive Engineers paper 2002-01-0553 shows any decrease of tread depth from new of the rear tires can contribute to an accident. Also on youtube “ front wheel drive stability test” or ” front wheel drive vs loose gravel”