KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A report by a finance company stated that more people die driving in winter weather in Michigan than anywhere else in the country.
Finance company Value Penguin came up with the list, based on federal statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and found 2,718 winter-driving fatalities 2013 to 2017 in the United States. 282 were in Michigan, which was nearly 90 more deaths than the runner up, Pennsylvania.
"I've lived here my whole life and I'm not surprised at all. I've seen a lot of accidents this year," said Andre Jones, a driver in Kalamazoo.
Ice, snow and whiteout conditions are routine when winter hits Michigan.
"We've all grown up with terrible weather and people tend to not really take it into consideration when they are driving," said Aaron Blondell, a Kalamazoo driver.
Detroit tops the list in Michigan with the most fatalities, but Oshtemo in Kalamazoo County came in second. The numbers were based off of crashes that happened during sleet or hail, blowing snow, snow and freezing rain or drizzle.
"It's weird people have grown up here their whole lives and then when that first snow hits, it's like everyone loses all brain function when it comes out being on the highway," said Bob Kendall, with Homrich's Garage in Kalamazoo.
Kendall said he feared for his life every time he's out towing a car in bad weather,
"We have conversations that what are our families going to do if we just don't come home," he said.
Although he survived, many others do not.
"You have to keep your eyes open. You've got to pay attention everyone has to know and be aware of their surroundings and you can't do that when you're on a cellphone, you can do that when you're fidgeting with the radio," Kendall said.