As of this week Mother Nature has decided to give Michigan a winter a with it has come snow and ice on the roads. Be sure to brush up on your winter driving tips as you brush the inches off your vehicle. Here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure you and your family stay safe on this New Year's Eve and all of the days to follow.
1. Know your route and stay updated on weather conditions. Many smart phones have weather apps that will send alerts in the event of drastic changes but it's good to know what to expect before getting behind the wheel. The web can be great source of current weather conditions as well. Check the directions to where you are going beforehand as well - this will help to limit distractions while en route.
2. Pack a winter travel safety kit. Include a cell phone, an ice scraper and brush, tow rope, cat litter to use as a traction aid, blankets, a good flashlight or two, candles, matches, a good book, a portable weather radio and a can of lock de-icer. Here's another tip: never use hot water on glass or locks - it will refreeze and create a bigger problem.
3. Slow down. A good method in general is to reduce speed by 50% in snowy conditions. But don’t go too slow! Your car needs momentum to keep moving through the snow going uphill.
4. Know how to recover from skids. When braking on a slippery road, it’s all too easy to lock up your wheels by stepping on the brakes too heavily. If you start to skid, steer the vehicle gently in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go and do not touch your brakes. This used to be called “turning into the skid,” but tests have shown that drivers often overestimate in real-life situations. For young drivers it may be a good idea to have them practice in an empty parking lot under your supervision.
5. Check your tires to be sure they are in good condition and are properly inflated. Cold weather reduces tire pressure so check and adjust often if necessary. Tire tread depth should be at least 1/8-inch and good snow tires with lugs will outperform just about any all-weather tire on the market.
6. If you get stuck, stay in your vehicle. This is a very important thing! Stay warm and wait for assistance. But first - make sure that your exhaust pipe is clear of any obstructions, including snow and ice. If you don’t carbon monoxide gas can build up inside the vehicle.
These are just a few of the many suggestions to keep your winter driving uneventful but if you would like more, we are glad to help.
Wishing all of you a Happy New Year!