How to drive in winter weather: 5 tips you can use

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Every winter, Michigan gets its fair share of snow and ice – and all that winter weather can bring a lot of challenges. 

To ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road, here are some essential tips for driving in winter weather:

Make sure your vehicle is well-maintained

Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is winter-ready. Check your tires for proper inflation and tread depth. Consider switching to winter tires, if possible, for enhanced traction on the icy roads. Test your brakes, lights and car battery to make sure they are in optimal condition.

You should also be prepared for unexpected situations by packing an emergency kit. Include items like blankets, non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a first aid kit.

Slow down and put more distance between you and others

Icy and snow-covered roads are hard for even good tire treads to grip, making it essential to reduce your speed. Allow for extra time to reach your destination and increase your following distance. This gives you more reaction time in case you encounter a sudden hazard, like a car that’s sliding out.

Apply the gas and your brakes slowly and gently

Make smooth and gentle movements while accelerating and braking. Sudden actions on slippery surfaces can lead to loss of control. Gradual movements allow your tires to maintain traction and reduce the risk of skidding. Brake early and gently to keep from sliding out. If your car has anti-lock brakes (ABS), use steady pressure on them until you can stop. If you don’t have ABS, pump the brakes to prevent lock-ups.

Make sure that you clean your vehicle thoroughly

Clear visibility is crucial, so remove all the ice and snow from your windows, mirrors and lights before you start out on the road. Use a quality windshield washer fluid that won’t freeze in cold temperatures.

Skip the cruise control and stay focused

When roads are slick, avoid using cruise control. Maintaining manual control over your vehicle allows you to respond quickly to changing road conditions. You also need to avoid distractions and focus on the road. Watch out for other drivers and be prepared for sudden stops or maneuvers.

Remember, it’s not just about getting to your destination; it’s about arriving safely. If you do end up in a wreck on winter roads, it’s always wisest to find out more about your legal options.

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