SNOWY ROADS (copy)

Traffic moves along South Airport Road in Traverse City in 2021.

TRAVERSE CITY — As winter storms begin to make their way through the region, the first bout of snowy crashes have hit Grand Traverse County.

None of the crashes this past week caused “significant” damage, Lt. Brandon Brinks from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office said.

But, in previous years, there have been some serious ones, Brinks added.

According to data from Michigan Auto Law, 10 intersections in Grand Traverse County were the location of 270 crashes and 45 injuries in 2021.

Steven Gursten, an attorney and the president of Michigan Auto Law, called these intersections the “most dangerous” in the county.

“Knowing what intersections have the most car accidents is important,” Gursten said in a statement. “Because, even though a crash does not always result in a person being injured, it does increase substantially the likelihood of an injury occurring.”

The intersection with the most crashes in 2021 was U.S.31 at W. South Airport Road in Garfield Township where a total of 38 crashes took place last year, according to Michigan Auto Law records. The second highest number of crashes – 34 – happened on South Airport and North Garfield roads in Garfield Township, their data shows.

Brinks said the most important point for drivers to remember, particularly in winter when road conditions may be precarious, is to leave an assured clear distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

“If it’s icy, obviously slow down and give yourself more following distance,” he said. “If you have snow tires or the ability to get snow tires, that’s super important.”

As for the crashes over the past three days, Brinks said the sheriff’s office has responded to calls from all corners of the county. “Any place where there are heavy amounts of traffic, we’re having crashes.”

At the start of winter, it’s typical to have minor crashes as drivers adjust to road conditions, he noted.

“Right now, we’re in that period where the ground is still getting cold, so we have some roads where they’re staying wet, and then there are patches of ice and then there are other roads that are completely iced over,” Brinks said. “So, there’s very inconsistent driving conditions, too.”

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