Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it a myth that icy roads cause accidents?

I recently received an e-mail from a reader in regards to a story I wrote on the accident on M-52, the accident that led to the death of former Manchester village president David Little. She disagreed with the following sentence: 'At this time it looks like icy roads and improper driving caused this accident, according to the sheriff's office.'

She told me this furthers a myth that icy roads cause accidents. I almost thought it wasn't a serious comment at first because I'd never heard that some believe that this is a myth. Even after thinking a bit about it I didn't really see the arguement that could be made. Icy roads can lead to accidents, sounded about right. I asked the reader to elaborate, which she did, and I can now say I can see where she's coming from.

She wrote: "Inability to adjust your driving to the road conditions is what causes the accidents. If one was driving at a prudent speed, able to maintain control of their vehicle under the present conditions, there wouldn't be all these accidents.

"Icy roads don't cause accidents. People not adjusting their driving to the road's conditions causes icy roads."

She also told me drivers with technology like electronic stability systems drive like they're exempt from slipping when they're not, and that when road conditions are so bad the answer is to just not drive. I'm not entirely convinced that its a myth that icy roads cause accidents. Improper driving given road conditions plays a role in many situations, I would imagine, but I think there are situations like a rare patch of black ice on a day of otherwise clear roads would present a problem for all but the most cautious drivers.

I try to drive carefully, but occasionally I will lose some control over my car during bad road conditions. Fortunately it's never led to an accident. Personally I try to be the most careful about turning and stopping, because that's where the majority of problems seem to happen.

I spoke with Saline Police Chief Paul Bunten about icy roads and he shared some traffic safety tips.

Feel free to share what you think about whether or not it's a myth that icy roads cause accidents.


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