Archived Story

Trooper Rob: Tips for winter driving safety

Published 4:20pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ask Trooper Rob

By Robert Herbstreith, Michigan State Police Niles Post

Members of the Michigan State Police would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope your holiday is a safe one. As this is the only true, four-day holiday weekend every year; the roads are busier than usual with families traveling to visit friends and family. The forecast appears to be that of good weather, making the drive a little more stress free.

I would like to mention that, as we live in Michigan, we are going to be seeing the inclement weather soon. Every snow season, those in law enforcement see an increase in traffic crashes, many of which could be avoided. If drivers take a moment and follow some basic winter driving tips, we can make this holiday, along with any other driving day, a safe one.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving or what vehicle you drive, slowing down is the key to avoiding a weather-related crash,” said Michal L. Prince, of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). The majority of winter driving crashes can be attributed to drivers going too fast for the roadway conditions. When this happens, drivers can lose control and begin to leave the roadway.

Many drivers believe  the lower the temperature, the more slippery the road, but the fact is roads are most slippery when the thermometer hovers around freezing. Black ice is deadly. One car length is not enough when it starts snowing. It can take up to 10 times longer to stop in snowy or icy weather, making the car skid. Look ahead and begin braking well in advance of an intersection.

A myth that using cruise control in the winter is “no big deal,” when the fact is a sudden loss of traction could cause the wheels to slip, making the car skid. In winter months (and any rainy day), it is suggested to keep the cruise control off.

Basic preparedness skills and common sense can keep you safe these upcoming winter months.

In the Line of Duty

During the evening hours of July 6, 2003, officers from the Hesperia Police Department and the Newaygo County Sheriff Department attempted to serve a felony warrant for accosting children for immoral purposes on Scott Woodring. Woodring subsequently barricaded himself in the home and the MSP Emergency Support Team (EST) was requested and responded to the scene. When members of

the team attempted to provide communication equipment, Woodring fired on the troopers. After 14 hours of negotiations failed, a tactical entry was made. On July 7, 2003, Tpr. Kevin Marshall, 34, was the team leader when the team made entry and was immediately met with gunfire. Multiple rounds struck the ballistic shield he was carrying with four of the rounds striking Tpr. Marshall. Two

other members were also struck, one with a non-threatening injury and the other unhurt, with the bullet striking his helmet.


Tpr. Marshall, who enlisted with the MSP on Jan. 15, 1995, and was assigned to

the Newaygo Post, was transported to Gerber Hospital in Fremont before being airlifted to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he died during surgery.


Woodring, during the commotion of his house burning, somehow escaped and was

a fugitive from justice. On July 13, 2003, the MSP received a tip that Woodring was in the area of Maple Island and 64th Street in Newaygo County. Again, members of the MSP EST responded. Woodring was in a vehicle behind a house. The EST ordered him to remain in the vehicle. Despite the orders, Woodring exited the vehicle armed and pointed the assault rifle at the team members. He was

subsequently shot and died from the wounds.


Tpr. Marshal is buried in Sterling Heights and was posthumously awarded the Medal

of Valor. He was the 49th MSP trooper to die in the line of duty.

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