FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) – Early this morning the unimaginable happened when a 40 car pile-up blocked Westbound I-96 near Fowlerville.
“The first thing that went through my head was obviously the well-being of everyone that was there,” Lansing Emergency Management Chief Mike Tobin said.
“I worry for not only the motorists but also the first responders that are going to the scene,” Sergeant Steve Temelko of the Michigan State Police Lansing Post stated.
The pile-up claimed the lives of three people…and with Michigan’s slick roads and gusty winds this time of year, Chief Tobin says accidents like this are not uncommon.
“We see accidents like this happen with very little snowfall generally our first couple three snowfalls of the year where people kind of have to be reminded on how to drive in those conditions,” said Tobin.
First responders say even in situations like today’s pile-up, there’s usually no chance of avoiding a collision.
“Just brace for that impact and be ready,” said Temelko.
But before the inevitable, Chief Tobin says there are steps drivers can take.
“The first thing to do is get off the gas and slow down,” Tobin stated.
He says it’s also crucial to stay in your own lane…
“Someone will be coming up on a one or two car accident all of a sudden say oh my goodness that’s in front of me, I can’t stop and instead of just applying the brake nice and smooth and steady and staying in their lane, they’ll react and try and change lanes real quick, hit another vehicle and cause a chain reaction,” said Tobin.
Expect the unexpected…and anticipate the unimaginable…a message that first responders hope Michigan drivers pay attention to.
“Give extra time, leave large gaps in between vehicles and travel slower than you usually would,” Sgt. Temelko added.
“Know what’s next to you, know what’s in front of you, know what’s behind you,” said Tobin.
First responders also say now that winter’s here, make sure your car is ready for the conditions. They recommend you check your tires, brakes and even windshield wipers so you can always see what’s in front of you.