You can call the Michigan State Police Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477 or visit their Road Conditions Website for current road conditions during a storm because they need to keep their phone lines open for emergencies.
The priority for response to road conditions is determined primarily by traffic volume and surface types.
Paved (hard surface) roads are first priority, with highest traffic volume roads being cleared first, and then the intermediate roads. The priority then shifts to subdivision streets and gravel roads. Salt is applied on icy paved roads and sand is applied to slippery areas on gravel roads.
There are no state laws that prohibit passing a snowplow. However, the action of passing can be extremely dangerous because pavement conditions vary across the path taken to pass. Snowplows may be equipped with wing plow blades that can extend anywhere between 2 and 10 feet beyond the width of the truck. This wing plow blade is often not seen because of the snow cloud being kicked up by the snowplow. These wing plows can often weigh as much as a compact car.
One of the major problems each year is damage to mailboxes. Most mailbox damage occurs when heavy, wet snow is thrown against a weakened post or box. The road commission cannot assume responsibility for such damage. If the mailbox or post is damaged by snow thrown by the snow removal vehicles, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to replace the box and post.
However, if damage occurred as a result of direct contact with road commission snow removal equipment, a supervisor will meet with the homeowner to assess the damage for possible replacement. Please keep your mailbox and post in good condition and located behind the curb or beyond the shoulder, where it is less likely to be damaged.
Additionally, private installations within the public right-of-way, such as sod, shrubs, sprinkler systems, etc., may be damaged in the process of snow removal or seasonal maintenance work. Damage that may occur is not intentional and in many cases is unavoidable.
Because it is the statutory responsibility of the road commission to maintain the roadways and right-of-way property, the agency is not held liable or responsible for any damage caused to private installations located within those roads and/or right-of-way.
Homeowners should be aware that shoveling or plowing snow from driveways into or across roads is illegal, because it can present a serious traffic hazard to motorists. Instead, pile the snow behind the curb or shoulder on your side of the road.
Be sure to place snow to the right as you face the road, so plows will push it away from, rather back into, the driveway entrance. It is also important to avoid vision obstructions. Care should be taken not to impede the flow of storm water from melting snow in the ditches or culverts. Citizens should also make certain that their trash containers are not placed too close to the edge of the road before snow removal has taken place.
Putting salt on road surfaces prior to a snowfall wastes time and money since salt often bounces from the dry road during application and, the portion that manages to land in the right location is subject to wind- which blows it off the road before it can do its job. Salt is most effective after snow has accumulated and the temperature is 20° Farenheit or higher. Under these conditions, the salt and snow will mix, melting snow into slush that can be plowed off the pavement. (This melting action will occur within two hours, less if traffic is using the highway.) If the temperature is below 20°F, the salt will have difficulty melting the snow and ice, so other methods are used. Abrasives are often put down for traction. Calcium chloride or other liquid treatments, including sugar beet based products, can be added to enhance the ability to melt the ice and snow. The road commission may change the mixture of salt and additives based on the ground temperature.