This is why we can't have nice things.
We all know winter driving can be treacherous, but there are certain situations where even the best drivers can be taken by surprise. This video from MLive.com shows a stretch of U.S. 31 north of Muskegon, Michigan, not far from Lake Michigan and a notorious area for lake effect snow squalls. Anyone who’s ever experienced such a sudden blast of snow – as most of us here at Michigan-based Motor1.com have – will confirm there are few things as frightening in a car as suddenly running into a blinding squall with zero visibility and snow covered lanes.
This incident occurred on December 26, ultimately shutting down the southbound side of the highway for several miles. The footage comes from a tow truck dispatched to the scene, which weaves its way through the clogged highway revealing numerous vehicles and a couple semi-trucks off the road. In fact, the video opens with a pickup truck sailing off the right shoulder as the surprised driver comes upon the mess. We don’t know if there were any injuries; we see one pickup truck with some serious front end damage and a Jeep rolled onto its side, but fortunately it seems most of the drama was relegated to vehicles stuck in the ditch.
We’re sure people will watch the video and cry foul on the drivers for going too fast, relying too much on four-wheel drive, you know the drill. The comments on the video are certainly full of such things – speed is obviously a factor in such cases, and though four-wheel drive can definitely help people accelerate in such conditions, it makes no difference when it comes to turning or stopping. For us, however, the takeaway from this video isn't to just slow down. Rather, this clip showcases just how quickly things can go from bad to very bad, and yes, even the best drivers with proper snow tires can be caught unaware.
We aren’t suggesting the snowbound drivers in this video aren’t at fault. Rather, we simply want to say that road conditions can change terrifically fast in winter, especially if you’re in a major snowbelt. As we prepare to usher in 2018, please stay safe out there.