Salt trucks

Driving can get a little tricky when the snow starts falling, and it tends to be especially bad when it’s the first big one of the season.

It is also something road crews prepare for.

“We see this happen every year, but at the Saginaw County Road Commission we are prepared,” said Joe Wisniewski, with the Saginaw County Road Commission.

The salt is ready and the trucks are ready for whatever weather arrives on Friday. The forecast calls for a few inches of snow in Mid-Michigan.

Wisniewski said his staff spent the day on Thursday pre-treating bridges with anti-icing fluid in an effort to keep the roads clear during the first snowfall of the season.

“All our trucks are geared up with salt, fuel and our plows, and ready to see what happens tomorrow,” Wisniewski said.

He has some advice for drivers to help his crew maintain the roads during the snow event.

“Just give us room to groom. It’s kind of the saying that’s used each year. You see our green and amber lights on the vehicles, stay back. Take it slow and pay attention. Just be safe,” Wisniewski said.

He is urging everyone to be patient. He said his fleet of 50 trucks will get to all the roads as soon as possible.

“Let’s have a safe day and if the snow comes, we’ll take care of it and we’ll get through the winter,” Wisniewski said.

The Michigan Department of Transportation also spent their day making sure their salt trucks and plows are ready to go when the snow starts falling.

In Genesee County, the road commission is stepping up their game.

"This year will be the first year that we're using plant-based products and actually increasing the amount of liquid we use," said Anthony Branch, maintenance director for the Genesee County Road Commission.

Branch said a new kind of plant-based liquid brine will be used in the trucks this year. He said regular salt tends to stop being effective in lower temperatures and the new treatment could help with that.

"The liquid along with the salt will be able to heat the salt up and cause the salt to operate even at low temperatures. So we'll be able to still get a melt on the roads," Branch said.

He said they have 73 salt trucks ready to hit the roads across Genesee County.

"Drive for the conditions. If it is snowing there is a possibility that it's slippery. So leave early if you need to so you have extra time so you don't have to drive 70 miles per hour to get someplace," he said.

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel shares the same advice. He said every year the first taste of winter leaves behind about 80 to 120 car accidents county wide.

"I think we can reduce that if we all just slow down," Federspiel said. "You come up to the stop sign and you get right up to it and then you slow down. You can stop on dry pavement. Guess what? Tomorrow you won't be able to."

Federspiel said having a good set of tires on your vehicle helps reduce your chance of being in a wreck. He is hoping everyone behind the wheel will heed his message.

"If we can reduce the number of accidents just by slowing down, paying attention and making sure we have the right equipment, we're going to have a much better day tomorrow than we've had in the past few years," he said.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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