By DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter
With winter approaching, bringing icy roads, gloomy skies and crazy winds, traffic experts are reminding Grand ledge commuters to drive safely.
“The average traffic issue will vary with the time of year,” said Chris Blievernicht, a Grand Ledge police lieutenant.
Experts say drivers need to calibrate their habits for the changing conditions.
“In the beginning of winter, drivers mindsets have to adjust to conditions,” said David Kack, the mobility and public transportation program manager at the Western Transportation Institute.
“In the winter time people tend drive too fast for the weather conditions and this causes them to run lights or slide through stop signs,” said Kack.
According to Citydata.com, Grand Ledge has managed to stay way under the Michigan average of fatal traffic accidents per year. However, the city average has increased since 2008.
Blievernicht said that speed and right of way (stop signs, red lights, failing to yield, etc.) violations are the most common issues in Grand Ledge.
“Slowing down and leaving more space between you and the vehicle in front of you, is one thing to remember during terrible weather conditions,” said Blievernicht.
Kack said public transportation and carpooling can help keep more cars off the roads. Also with public transportation there are professional drivers who are prepared for weather conditions.
Blievernicht said the closest thing to public transportation in Grand Ledge would be Eatran which is a county-wide ride service.
“In small communities transportation is not used to reduce the amount of traffic, but to assist those who can not drive, or the elderly,” said Kack.
Kack said car companies are making cars safer; it is the culture of drives needs to change.
“It is up to the drivers behavior,” said Kack. “Distracted driving … has to stop.”
Crash information is analyzed and used to try to make roads safer — and drivers more accountable.
“The state police collect accident information. The department of transportation uses that information to design safer roads and intersections,” said Blievernicht.
Blievernicht said insurance companies utilize a lot of traffic information to motivate safer driving. Insurance companies will increase the cost of a person car insurance based off of their driving record. Also, car manufacturers use crash data to design safer cars.
Drivers can keep up with Michigan road conditions by listening to the local radio station, watching local news stations, or visiting Michtip.state.mi.us.com.