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MSP warns new drivers to be careful during first snowfall of the year

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MSP warns new drivers to be careful during first snowfall of the year. (WWMT/File)

West Michigan is no stranger to snow, but every year the first snow of the season brings dozens of crashes.

Police said it could be especially dicey for teenage drivers, who could be seeing their first snowy roads Friday. Police advise first-time drivers practice and know their vehicle before heading out.

Lauren Rex, 15, of Portage, just started drivers education classes. When she hits the road next, conditions could be messy.

"I'll have to do my first drive on Saturday. We might have to do our first drive in snow," Rex said.

Police said it's not just first time drivers, like Rex, who need to be careful. Slippery roads can get the best of even seasoned drivers.

"You'd think in Michigan we've seen it, we've done it and would be ready every year. Every time it seems like we have to learn again," said Kalamazoo resident Doug Haney.

Police said it's during this transitional period when there are more wrecks. During the first snowfall in 2017, there was 32-car pileup on Interstate 94 near Paw Paw along with several other crashes.

"We have some pretty significant crashes when people are re-accumulate themselves to winter driving," said Michigan State Police Lt. Dale Hinz.

Hinz advises drivers slow down and increase the following distance between the nearest vehicle. Police urge drivers to allow more time to get to a destination and to drive carefully on the roadways.

"Some of the worst culprits are the seasoned drivers. Slow down, look around," said Stephanie Rex.

Lauren's mother Stephanie Rex has been working to prepare her daughter.

"I've been telling Lauren a lot about defensive driving: to look ahead and anticipate," Stephanie said.

A message that Lauren seems to understand.

"Especially since last winter, near the end was really rough. I've learned what to do and what not to do," Lauren said.