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GRAND RAPIDS, (WZZM) -- The unrelenting onslaught of snow and sub-freezing temperatures contributed to a spike in January traffic accidents, police say.

Michigan State Police responded to more than 5,200 crashes last month, a 22 percent increase over the same period last year.

The Kent County Sheriff's Department responded to 750 crashes in January, up significantly over last January, says Sgt. Ben Cammenga.

Ask any driver why there's an increase, and they'll tell you the same thing: Snow. There was 42 inches in January 2013 compared to 17 inches in January 2012.

But police and M-DOT don't see a connection between the two.

"People talk about weather related crashes, no such thing, crashes are because of driver behavior," said MDOT's Jeff Cranson.

Sgt. Ben Cammenga says the majority ofthe time, drivers are cited in these snowy crashes. Even if you're driving 25 mph in a 45 mph zone and end up in the ditch, or hit someone else's property, you could be cited for failing tooperate your vehicle properly.

Another issue this year is the extremely cold weather.

In Grand Rapids last month, the average daily temperature was 6.3 degrees colder than normal.

Compare that with January 2013, which saw 10 days with temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

Salting the roads when temperatures are below 20 degrees is useless. MDOT says it accelerates the refreezing process and makes the roads worse.

And temperatures fell below 20 degrees in all but 6 days last month. MDOT's Jeff Cranson says it's a reminder to slow down if you want to make it home safely.

"Recognize conditions are really icy especially when it's that cold," he said.

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