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MDOT urges safe driving as winter nears

ESCANABA, Mich. -- As parts of the Upper Peninsula prepare for the first significant snowfall of the year, and with the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants to remind drivers to slow down and be cautious on wintry roadways.

While road agencies work to keep our highways safe in the winter, drivers must take responsibility for getting to their destinations safely.

"MDOT and local agency maintenance crews have years of experience and improved technology at their disposal to handle winter weather, but they can only do so much," said MDOT Superior Region Operations Engineer Jason DeGrand. "We want drivers to know that we'll be out working to clear roads as quickly as possible, but drivers must take responsibility for safety when they get behind the wheel. As the weather gets worse, drivers need to slow down and leave plenty of space between vehicles."

After months of driving on mostly dry surfaces and with better visibility, it's time to remind everyone that driving in wintry conditions can be hazardous. The statistics are stark: of the more than 43,000 total crashes reported in the Upper Peninsula from 2016 to 2020, 27.7 percent (11,991) were winter weather-related, according to the Michigan State Police (MSP) Criminal Justice Information Center. During this period, 52 people were killed and 258 seriously injured in crashes on icy, snowy, or slushy roads.

MDOT and the MSP have collected a wealth of resources to help drivers prepare to meet winter safely:

  • MSP's Office of Highway Safety Planning has launched a website ( packed with tips and useful resources. Drivers can find timely advice there on planning a safe route, how to control their vehicle, what to do in an emergency, passenger safety, tire tips, and more.
  • MDOT's Mi Drive website is a useful online tool to help you get to your destination safely. By going to, motorists get access to hundreds of cameras showing state highway conditions in real time, as well as road backups or closures due to weather, crashes or other incidents.
  • The agencies have partnered to produce a video with information on how roads are maintained each winter and the actions motorists should take now to be prepared for inclement driving conditions.

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