DETROIT (WWJ) – Michigan State Police say they responded to more than 100 accidents in just a two-hour stretch around the lunch hour Wednesday in the metro Detroit area.
Slick conditions, spin-outs and multiple accidents persist into the evening on local roads and freeways following snow fall that was heaviest in the afternoon.
One of the worst spots has been I-696 in both directions between I-75 and I-94; although accidents were reported on every major freeway.
“A lot of people (are) astonished by the weather that’s causing all these accidents; but believe me, it is really slick out there,” said WWJ Traffic Reporter Lorna Stephens, shortly before 1 p.m.
“The freeways are a sheet of ice, and we’re hearing from motorists that they’re not seeing any salt trucks,” Stephens said. “We cannot stress it enough: You really need to take your time if you have to be out and about.”
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) spokesperson Diane Cross said that, yes, it was just a light snow — but it’s been so cold that the snow didn’t melt when it landed. Also, she said, drivers didn’t take the slippery road conditions into account.
“You need to leave a lot of room between you and the care in front of you; slower speeds, and expect you’re going to need a lot of time to get where you’re going this afternoon,” Cross said. “In icy conditions you just can’t think you’re going to be able to stop the same way you can do on dry pavement.”
Cross said salt trucks have been concentrating on the bridge decks, overpasses and ramps that tend to ice up and become the most slippery in bad weather.
Craig Byrson with the Road Commission for Oakland County said they had about 50 trucks out salting the roads Wednesday afternoon.
He said the commission is still in the process of hiring part-time drivers for the season, but they had plenty of staff on the clock to handle Wednesday’s snowfall.
“This, right now, is the perfect time. It came during the day, during our full-time regular shifts,” Bryson said. “So, you know, we don’t have a problem putting people in trucks right now. It’s when we’re running around the clock that we have more of an issue with numbers of staff.”
Elsewhere, authorities said two children were injured when a pickup truck slid into a school bus in Battle Creek. The Battle Creek Enquirer reported the kids, who were preparing to get off the bus, bumped their heads and were examined by paramedics, but were OK.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuel said metro Detroit would see one to two inches of snow on Wednesday — with the snowfall tapering off late in the afternoon — and a high near 32 degrees.
Samuel said conditions on area freeways should be a bit improved in time for the afternoon commute, but temperatures will plummet overnight — so drivers should continue to be on the lookout for slushy and icy spots on the roadways.
[Check the extended forecast HERE].
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