(WWJ) Amid the coronavirus crisis in Michigan: Is it OK to just take a drive?
The simple answer, says Michigan State Police First Lt. Mike Shaw, is "No."
"One of the biggest questions that we get through our social media is: 'Does the order allow me to just clear my head by driving around in my car or on my motorcycle?' — and it does not," Shaw said, referring to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order in effect since March 24.
Speaking with the WWJ Traffic Center's Rob Wlasuk for a Q&A session, Shaw said Michiganders are instructed to avoid all unnecessary travel until the order is lifted.
"You are supposed to stay at home," Shaw said.
"The reason for that is, is that if you're out there and say you're driving around and your car breaks down, well now you've got the police that's going to have to come out there, the tow truck driver, and you're making contact with all those people," Shaw explained. "If you get in a crash we're gonna have to come out there and police up that crash."
The goal, he reiterated, is to avoid spreading the virus from person to person.
"It's not that we're trying to be mean or anything like that, or say you gotta stay in your house...but you really gotta stay in your house," Shaw added. "And those unnecessary trips, the sooner we kinda end those, the sooner I'll see what my office looks like and be able to get outside and, you know, not be cooped up on the house all day."
People are permitted to drive to their jobs, the grocery store or other places they need to be. And, as Shaw has stressed, police will not be stop drivers to ask where they're going.
The good news for drivers who do have to be out: State Police won't be pulling people over for minor traffic infractions, such as driving a couple of miles over the speed limit.
But keep in mind the cops will still be out there doing their job, Shaw said.
"If we don't have contact with you at all, that's the best way you can protect us, yourself and your family," he said. "So if you have to go out — you're an essential employee — just because there's not a lot of traffic out there doesn't mean that the speed limit just increased for you about 15 miles an hour."
For more answers to frequently asked questions about the "Stay Home" order, visit this link.