Police Reports By Annette Christie State Police to motorists: Slow down and move over During last week’s winter storms, Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers responded to 183 traffic crashes across Southwest Michigan during the unprecedented winter weather. In addition, the patrol vehicles of five MSP troopers were struck by motorists while policing those crashes. Fortunately, none of the troopers were seriously injured. “We have put additional troopers on the road to help stranded motorists and those involved in crashes, but we continue to ask that anyone who can limit their travel during a winter storm does so,” stated Capt. Kyle Bowman, commander of the MSP Fifth District. “If you must drive during a winter storm, please leave earlier, slow down, increase your following distance and give our first responders plenty of room to do their job.” The MSP reminds motorists that even during inclement weather, drivers are responsible for maintaining control of their vehicles at all times. Additionally, Michigan’s Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, which went into effect in 2001, requires that when drivers see a stationary emergency vehicle or tow truck pulled over with its flashing, rotating or oscillating lights on, passing motorists must move over at least one lane or two vehicle widths. If moving over cannot be accomplished, motorists must slow down and pass with caution. An amendment to this law that takes effect on Feb. 13, 2019, will additionally require motorists to reduce their speed by at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated. Bowman added, “There are brave men and women working throughout these storms to respond to emergencies in the most extreme conditions and the risk of death or injury to yourself or others is not worth the rush to get to your destination. Please remember that each of these first responders and public safety workers have families who need them to return home safely at the end of their shift.” Impending storm results in another MSP reminder On February 5, 2019, the Michigan State Police encouraged Michigan residents to use caution at home and on the roads during the snow and freezing rain conditions predicted for Tuesday night and into Wednesday. The forecast called for a wintry mix of snow and freezing rain that could result in hazardous travel conditions and localized power outages. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of lower Michigan that remained in effect through 1:00 p.m. Wednesday. A second round of light freezing rain could be possible late Wednesday and into Thursday. “Accumulating ice and snow can cause dangerous road conditions and some downed tree limbs,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “If you must travel, we ask that motorists allow extra time to get to their destinations and, if you see a downed power line, stay away from it and report it to your utility company.” MSP provides the following safe winter driving tips: Motorists are reminded to take extra precautions when stopping and turning. Remember to do all the 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 the driver would want to go. Do not crowd snowplows. Give snowplow drivers plenty of room to clear snow from the roads. Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check the 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 vehicles for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and license plate before driving. Keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle stocked with a cell phone charger, batteries, battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, shovel, blanket, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water in the event of being stranded or stuck. MSP reminds motorists that even during inclement weather, drivers are responsible for maintaining control of their vehicles at all times.
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