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Tips for staying safe on Michigan roads during the winter

If you've lived in Michigan your entire life, you're probably used to driving in snowy, icy conditions. However, that doesn't mean you should get too confident. When our roads are filled with ice and snow, it's essential to take extra care. That's true whether you've faced Michigan winters for decades or you've just moved from an area where you never encountered snow.

The first step in staying safe while driving in the winter is to make sure that your vehicle is ready before the first snowfall. Have your tires checked to be certain they have proper traction. If you might be driving on roads where chains are required (or even advisable), make sure you have them, that they're in good condition and you know how to put them on.

Make sure that your lights, windshield wipers and heat are working. It's a good idea to take your car in for a check-up before the weather turns bad. You don't want to get stranded in subzero temperatures because your battery died. Make sure you have emergency supplies in your car in case you get stuck on a blocked road or behind an accident.

One of the key safety precautions that can help keep Michigan drivers out of a winter crash is to adjust your speed limit based on weather and road conditions. Regardless of what the posted speed limit is, if the road you're on is slick or packed with snow, or if falling snow, rain or hail are making it hard to see, slow down as much as you need to in order to drive safely. Remember than you can get a ticket for driving at a speed that's unsafe for conditions -- regardless of what the speed limit sign says.

If you're headed out on a long drive, check the weather and road conditions. You may be able to avoid driving in to a storm. This can also help you avoid unexpected delays or detours.

A driver who causes an accident in bad weather can still be deemed responsible. If they were driving too fast for conditions or were busy changing their radio station when they should have been focused solely on the road, for example, they can be held liable. If you're injured in a crash caused by another driver, regardless of road and weather conditions, don't hesitate to seek the compensation you're entitled to.

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