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First snowfall of the year causes significant number of crashes and slide-offs

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The first significant snowfall of the year has fallen and caused a significant number of slide-offs and accidents, including a 32-car pileup on I-94.

Newschannel 3's Mike Krafcik gave an overview of the issues on the roads and what police are advising people to do.

Police typically expect more wrecks during the transition period, as driver's are adjusting to wintery conditions, but police say many wrecks can be prevented by slowing down and increasing the following distance on the road.

Shortly after 9 a.m., 32 vehicles were involved in a pile-up crash that shut down the westbound lane of I-94 near Paw Paw for close to two hours.

Michigan State Police Lt. Dale Hinz said, “I don't remember this significant of a crash on the first snowfall of the year, so here we are again.”

Several people suffered minor injuries, but nothing life threatening and state police say it started when drivers saw a wrecker removing a car that slid off the roadway.

Hinz said, “When individuals started breaking too suddenly and losing control of their vehicles and vehicles following too closely and this is what we get, unfortunately.”

Across West Michigan, there were upwards of 200 reports of slide-offs and crashes, including.. 119 reports in Ottawa County.

Kendra Holling, Kalamazoo, said, “We've forgotten how to drive a little bit. People not being the smartest on the roads this morning.”

In Kalamazoo County, a driver was hospitalized after being extracted from their vehicle after losing control on Thursday morning.

Jakab Selner, Kalamazoo, said, “Especially with the first snow, you get used to rushing around when the roads are nice, but you get a little bit of ice and you're not used to it, it can get dangerous quickly.”

Police urge drivers to allow more time to get to a destination and to drive carefully on the roadways.

Hinz said, “Those from West Michigan that understand lake effect snowfall should set the example for other motorists out there.”

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