Dangerous stretch of U.S. 23 breeds crashes in bad weather

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GENESSEE COUNTY (12/15/17) - The first significant snow of the season covered Mid-Michigan in a blanket of white.

While crashes can be common on bad roads, certain ones are seeing more crashes and shut-downs. Some roads, like this stretch of U.S. 23 in southern Genesee County, are more prone to crashes, even with salting and sanding.

"It's very slick out there. There's a couple of people in the ditch," said Livonia resident Lydia Kowalske.

"There will be certain areas of the freeway or roadways where you'll be driving along and all of a sudden it's an open area, where the winds blowing across the roadway," Michigan State Police Sgt. Rick Jones said.

That wind can blow extra snow on the road, creating slippery or even icy conditions in just a few feet even with salt and plow trucks going up and down the highway, catching drivers off-guard.

Blind spots and curves in the road can also play a role.

A string of crashes shut down U.S. 23 north of Fenton during heavy snowfall on Wednesday. Friday afternoon, traffic appeared to be moving smoothly and carefully toward their destination.

"Everybody seems to be taking it easy. I've seen a few cars in the ditch, but not that many yet," said Chris Toebler, a Warren resident. "I've got a long way to go. I'm headed up to Cheboygan."

The Michigan Department of Transportation would like to add more electronic road signs to the 10 currently in place across Mid-Michigan, to warn drivers of worsening road conditions. That depends on budget constraints, however.

Until then, reducing speed, increasing distance and not being distracted by your phone or the radio can also help reduce the risk of a crash.

"You have to drive for conditions. You can get driving too fast for conditions so a snowy or wintry day you should be slowing down according to the way the weather is," Jones said.

Aside from slowing down and paying attention to changing road conditions, it's also a good idea to have good wipers and good tires to help increase visibility and traction.

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