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Michigan State Police reminds motorists to be safe

CALUMET — The Michigan State Police Calumet Post wants to remind motorists to drive safely moving into winter, and to make sure vehicles are prepared for winter driving conditions.

“The thing it starts with, is when you turn the car on, give yourself enough time to get to your destination and plan ahead,” said Trooper Kevin Rajala. “The other thing you want to look at is make sure all your windows are cleaned off completely.”

People do not take the time to clean the vehicle off completely, including the windows, which often leads to mishaps.

“Another thing is to make sure you have good wiper blades, and particularly, the proper tires for the season.”

All season radial tires are not actually all season. Winter tires have deeper treads that reach to the shoulder of the tire, which all season radials do not, and winter tires are made with a softer “rubber” to better grip ice and slush.

“I suggest if you’re going to put winter tires on, don’t put them on just the steer tires, but put them on all four,” said Rajala.

Particularly with all-wheel drive vehicles, they should have all tires the same brand, style, and same size. Different tires on an all-wheel drive will cause the tires to turn differently, which will result in transmission problems later, because the differing tires will grip differently from each other.

Road conditions can change rapidly, particularly at this time of the year, and with the weather the Copper Country has experienced so far this month.

“The roads can freeze, then thaw, then freeze then thaw, so it makes it difficult for the motorist to understand completely how the road can react in different areas,” Rajala said.

Under those conditions, roads can create ice and slush, and drivers might drive too fast for those conditions, and they can easily lose control.

Two very important points, Rajala said, are if motorists are going to consume alcohol, plan in advance, and have a designated driver. While recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Michigan, people must remember, too, that it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, it is illegal to use the drug while sitting in a vehicle, or to allow passengers to smoke it while in the vehicle.

Distracted driving is as hazardous as driving under the influence, Rajala said.

“When you’re driving, put the cell phone down, lock it in the glove compartment,” Rajala said. “A text isn’t worth a life.”

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