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Posted on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 7:45 a.m.

Several crashes reported on I-94, M-14 as snow falls in Ann Arbor area

By Cindy Heflin


A salt truck turns around on M-14 just north of Ann Arbor around 10:30 a.m. | Kyle Mattson -

10:40 a.m. update: Emergency crews were dealing with seven crashes on Washtenaw County freeways, a dispatcher with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's office said. Those included one on eastbound Interstate 94 at Old U.S. 12 that was causing a significant backup and a crash on northbound U.S. 23 in the area of Carpenter Road near Milan.

Multiple crashes, mainly on westbound Interstate 94, were making a mess of the morning commute in the Ann Arbor area Friday.

At 8:50 a.m., dispatchers listed crashes on the freeway at Huron Street in Ypsilanti, U.S. 12 between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and Zeeb Road and Baker Road in Scio Township west of Ann Arbor.

Crashes were also reported on northbound U.S. 23 and Washtenaw Avenue and U.S. 23 and I-94. Emergency crews were also dealing with a crash at M-14 and Ford Road.

Numerous crashes and spinouts had been reported throughout the morning rush hour.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission has trucks out; however, falling snow and cold temperatures have created slippery conditions. Motorists were urged to slow down.

The National Weather Service issued a special statement Friday morning warning that a burst of snow could reduce visibilities and create slick road conditions. Forecasters predict total snowfall of 1 to 2 inches for the Ann Arbor area Friday.



Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Peoples continual inability to understand how to drive in this weather makes me fear for the future of the human race.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

The Road Commission could help by doing their job also.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Next time it's like this and you're out driving, count how many people are driving around with no lights on. I bet you'll lose count within 5 minutes


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

really? does no one in this county have a brain? the problem is hardly the drivers. the problem is the fact that Washtenaw Country REFUSES to salt or plow their roads. they're ALWAYS quoted as saying 'we have the plows and salt ready!' really? well gee, maybe 2 inches of snow on the road is your cue to move them from ready to active. just a thought. this entire county leaves the cars to deal with all the crap that collects and accumulates on the road. yes, there are those occasional drivers who don't slow down and don't know what snow can do, but guess what? if the snow wasn't there, i.e. roads plowed or salted, those drivers wouldn't be a problem. and the county will have much better luck eliminating the snow and ice than they will trying to get people to drive with their heads screwed on straight. PLOW and SALT the roads. boom. problem solved. don't believe me? look around metro Detroit and Oakland and Wayne counties the morning of a big snow. drivers are just as nuts, but the accident toll, i'd be willing to bet, is reduced by about 90%. guess what the alternate variable is? SALTED ROADS.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Kyle, it seems the WCRC is ALWAYS taken by surprise. They act like they were the last ones to know. Salt doesn't work under certain cold conditions but sand certainly does. If M-14 had sand on it this morning it could have saved a lot of people a lot of trouble this morning. I don't blame the plow drivers, I blame the people who make the decisions..the wrong decisions often enough. 8:30am is way too late to help the drivers on the freeways. Concentrate on the freeways...that is where the most traffic is, right?

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

I can attest that the roads in Wayne County (at least the ones I drove on) were significantly better this morning. All of them had already been salted and scraped whereas it seemed that the Washtenaw crews were a couple hours behind and just starting to salt post rush-hour traffic. Also to note from my reply to RM above, there was scanner traffic this morning around 8:30 that trucks were just pulling out of the yard so it seems as if the county may have just been taken by surprise this severity of the snow this time around. The snow has stayed pretty steady throughout the afternoon, so best of luck to those heading home in a few hours. Take it easy out there, maybe even go grab a coffee and lets the roads clear out before buckling up.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

they don't want to pay overtime , so they wait for the workers regular worktimes. 8am.?. My dad plowed for years and years for the city and county.. then they went out at 1st snow and at least salted and sanded.. the roads are worse when there is a little snow then a lot.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

I would say the blame is equal on both sides. Sure, the roads are horrible right now and downtown A2 was a mess this morning, but people really need to learn to slow down. I saw countless idiots sliding and spinning on the slush because they tried to take off like it was dry pavement.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

Jasmin I can say the plow trucks were definitly out there. Just because there is salt down does not mean people automatically can drive in it. So settle down. Quit blaming the Road Commission. You have NO IDEA what those guys go through.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Wondering where all the city trucks were this morning - they knew this was coming, so why not engage in a little proactive salting early-on. I didn't see a single salt truck from the Old West side to Traver Village Mall area, and the roads were pretty slick. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good to know you're right on top of things.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

I Jeeped right by several vehicles spining out this morning. Tread lightly people, I had 4 wheel drive and took it nice and easy with no problems, being able to downshift instead of brake is also a plus.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Same here treetown, in fact I had two cars spin out right in front of me on WB M-14 by the Ford Rd exit. Traffic was moving at a seemingly steady safe pace (55ish), but one driver instantly went sideways when he hit the brakes to slow down at the top of the hill. It was pretty wild seeing both cars slide off the road so quick, and luckily they did slide into the ditch too or else my car and the semi alongside of me would have slammed right into them. It was simply a sheet of ice at the top of that hill.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

They just don't know how to drive in a snow climate, eh?! Go figure!


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

suggestion: loss of control of a vehicle resulting in harm or damage shall result in the impounding thereof and loss of drivers' license for say, a year. Cell phone involvement?: crush the vehicle and permanent ped status.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

aww if we all could be so perfect

Concerned Neighbor

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

It must be a west bound thing! East bound drivers are safer?


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Boy am I glad my commute no longer requires the highway (Ypsi to Plymouth by back roads now). Can cruise along at 50 mph and there's never anyone in the ditch. Of course, I take personal responsibility for my own traction anyway and put on snow tires for the winter. If more people did this we'd have a lot less issues on the freeways.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 8 p.m.

MA2- I understand the frustration. Buying two sets of brand new tires may seem incredibly expensive as the time, but if you figure that you'll be trading them out you'll eventually be skipping having to buy a new set of all seasons it is the same cost. You're just have to pay for new tires 1-2 years in advance. Add in the fact that having winter tires (and designated summer tires in fact) could save you hundreds, or even thousands by decreasing your chance of being in an accident its a no brainer to me.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Good story Ann, glad you made it safe and sound. Some drivers are just oblivious which is why I try not to drive in this weather. Popeye's is worth the risk though ;)

Ann Dwyer

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

I can't afford them, but I'm super careful. One day, I was heading home with Popeye's chicken when I noticed the car in front of me stopped in the road. Thankfully, I started braking early, because it was pure black ice. I was just able to stop behind the car. Turns out, the car had slid past their driveway. Then I noticed a car coming up behind me. I kept watching and noticed they weren't slowing down enough. Thinking quickly, I pulled up on the side of the road next to the car in front of me.The car behind me ended up exactly where I had been. Fried chicken was my motivation to make it home without incident, and I did.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

I have very frustrating conversations with co-workers about the importance of snow tires. I'll explain the differences, and show them videos that compare performance between snow and all-season. I also explain that investing in them once will get you through several winters, if you are good about switching them out. The conversations end with, "Ah, well, my all-season tires are pretty new, so I'm fine, and I have an SUV." *sigh*


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Ross- I think one of the best things this state could do along the lines you mentioned were to create a public awareness campaign regarding exactly why snow tires are such a valuable piece of equipment in the winter. I've heard so many people who think that AWD solves every problem in the world regardless of the tires on the car. I know many people who don't even know what kind of tires they have on their car (including summer only tires), and hit the roads without a worry in the world despite presenting a grave danger to both themselves and others. I learned the hard way, when I was younger, the necessity of snow tires. I took a sports car with performance tires out on I75 during a snowstorm, kicked out my back end and plowed into the divider - the car spun 180 degrees and I was left facing oncoming traffic (which thankfully stopped). Since that day, I have purchased a dedicated set of snow tires for every car I've ever owned - including several sports cars, which can be quite fun in the snow. People should take the time to learn the benefits of a set of snow tires on any car in the winter. They aren't just for the snow - they are for cold weather *and* snow/ice.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

I hear you Ross. I miss when my commute was all back roads, not only more consistent, but a bit more scenic as well :) I will agree too that if you can afford separate snow and summer tires DO IT.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I am in the Northwest portion of Washtenaw County, took me an hour to go 7 miles this morning. Have yet to see a plow or salt truck, what I have seen is a large amount of people in ditches due to their own inability to slow down and proceed with caution. We all have to do our part, I wanna know where the County trucks are this morning, this was a well predicted snowfall.

music to my ear

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

have not seen any yet, I think they wait for the snow to almost finish then they plow and salt .I agree if people would just slow down but year after year the crazy drivers ruin it for all even making good drivers fall in ditches while they zoom by.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

Hi RM- Just heard on the scanner that there were salt trucks pulling out of the yard, so they're out there now. Not sure if that was the case earlier but hopefully police and road crews can get the mess on the freeways cleaned up quickly.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Very slippery out right now, and of course there are the prerequisite tailgaters out there making it even worse.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

It's days like this when I remember why I have a gas guzzling big SUV. It doesn't have 4wd (I bought it in the south), but it's huge and can take a hit when the college kids try and crash their little RWD sports cars into me.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

"But my AWD system works when braking, right?"