Ah, winter driving in Michigan. It can be quite an adventure. This year, the sleet, ice, and snow have created hazardous road conditions and contributed to numerous collisions and multi-vehicle pileups. While some factors are beyond your control, there are a number of precautions you can take to help yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle stay safe on winter roads.
Safe Winter Driving Tips:
- Try and fill your gas tank before it gets below a quarter tank in cold weather.
- In addition to jumper cables, flares, a decent spare tire and a jack, keep extra blankets, hats, gloves, water, protein-rich snacks, a flashlight, kitty litter, and an emergency medical kit in your car in case you run into trouble and are delayed or stranded on the road.
- Keep your cell phone fully charged, carry an additional charger, and consider purchasing a membership for a roadside assistance program such as AAA.
- Allow yourself extra travel time to accommodate slower driving speeds and have alternate routes planned in case of accidents or road closures.
- Make sure your car’s maintenance is up to date: have your fluids, battery, wipers, and tire pressure and tread checked before the bad weather starts.
- Drive wisely, defensively, and courteously. Leave extra space between you and other vehicles, use your turn signal, and adjust your braking time to accommodate slick roads.
- Remember that posted speed limits are for dry pavement. Slow down for other road conditions if needed.
- Clear your vehicle of snow and ice thoroughly and let it warm up enough for the front and back windshields to defrost for optimal visibility.
- Help keep your hands and arms free of fatigue by sitting a comfortable distance from the steering wheel and placing your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.
- Pay extra attention to your blind spots and drivers around you so you know who to avoid if necessary.
- Avoid driving at night if you can. Some dangerous conditions, like icy roads, are harder to detect in the dark.
- Remember that bridges and exit and entrance ramps can be extra slippery.
- Give large trucks plenty of room and don’t cut in front of them. Their weight means they take longer to stop.
- Don’t crowd plows and salt trucks.
- Always wear your seat belt and insist your passengers buckle up, too. (We hope this goes without saying.)
Living in the mitten state means you’ll have to drive in snow and ice from time to time. If you remember these safe driving tips and use your good judgement, driving in wintry conditions doesn’t have to be a cause for a great deal of concern or stress.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Whiting Law for a free consultation.