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What the I-94 pileup can teach you about driving in winter weather

Jan 20, 2015

Credit Flickr user jpstanley / Flickr

On January 9 in eastern Kalamazoo County, 193 vehicles crashed on both sides of I-94. A truck driver was killed and 22 others were sent to the hospital.

Michigan State Police are still investigating the chain-reaction crashes. But the Michigan Department of Transportation blamed driver behavior and speed for the pileup.

State Police Lt. Dale Hinz says in his 21 years of service he's never seen a crash quite so complex. The police are still in the process of collecting information for their investigation, and Hinz says it may take up to a month to put it all together.

Ray Bingham, a transportation safety and behavioral research professor at the University of Michigan, says one problem he sees is that drivers engage in behavior they know is dangerous, such as texting or eating while driving. And he says when they do that and don't get into an accident, it creates a false sense of safety. He warns that just because you have not been involved in an accident doesn't mean you aren't at risk. Hinz says drivers always should keep in mind no one plans to be in an accident; they can happen to anyone.

There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of an accident. Hinz putting more distance between your car and the one in front of you, and decreasing your speed will help to keep you and your fellow drivers safe on the road.