Whether you’ve been a Michigander your entire life or you're fairly new to this type of weather, we thought a post about driving on snow covered roads is worth a revisit. I’ve lived here my entire life and honestly I don’t know what the big deal is. I don’t mean to come off cocky but it’s really not too difficult if you follow these tips. (Yes, I know... I should have posted this at the beginning of the season. My bad.)
I will add that if driving in snow gives you all kinds of anxiety, it’s ok! Just stay home! We’re not all wired the same way. Don’t go out in it unless it’s an absolute emergency. In no way to I mean to take a shot at the “white knucklers”, but it's just not worth it! And your nervousness could cause an accident that may involves others! So here ya go! Your free driving tips to review! Please do us all a favor…. read and share! Please!
1. Think ahead! Have an emergency kit in the trunk! This would include gloves, boots, socks, hats, snacks, blankets, ice scraper, bag of salt, shovel, flashlight, etc. Also, keep a phone charger available!
2. Buckle up! It’s the law! And accident studies show that your odds of living are higher vs not wearing it! Just do it.
3. Lights on!! It increases your visibility! It is always amazing to me how many people drive around in times of low visibility with their lights off!
4. Keep your windshield, headlights, and taillights clear of snow. Scrape the roof while you’re at it.
**WARNING** The way I heard it, YOU are responsible for the snow and ice flying off your vehicle damages another vehicle! According to Michigan Law, "A person shall not deposit, or cause to be deposited, snow, ice, or slush onto or across a roadway or the shoulder of the roadway in a manner which obstructs the safety vision of the driver of a motor vehicle," and, "A person shall not deposit, or cause to be deposited, snow, ice or slush on any roadway or highway."
What does that mean? If your car is not cleared completely and snow or ice flies off while driving, it's not only dangerous for others on the road but it's ILLEGAL! You have been warned! Don’t get a ticket for being too lazy to clear your car of snow! Now you know!
5. Make sure your tires are in good shape with proper air inflation. Routinely check this especially in colder temps! You would be surprised how it fluctuates between seasons.
6. Drive slowly and give yourself plenty of time. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly is helpful to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
7. If you do get stuck or you are stranded, stay in your vehicle. Not only is it safer, but it’s easier for rescuers to find you. If you are able to keep engine running, be sure to clear snow away from the tailpipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
8. Keep your fuel tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze. Plus you won’t run out of gas if you do get stranded.
9. Don’t tailgate! Ever! But especially on slick roads! Allow for 3 or 4 car lengths from you to the car in front of you. This increased space will provide the longer distance needed to stop.
10. Don’t use cruise control! Use low gears on hills to help with traction.
11. Watch out on bridges and overpasses! They freeze up first.
12. Know your brakes. Have brake repairs done before the snow flies! Most all cars have anti-lock brakes nowadays. Apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. No need to pump breaks like we did back in the day! If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
13. Don’t be a wise acre and think you’re Mario! Newsflash! Even the best drivers end up being an “idiot in the ditch”! Slow down! That’s aimed at you 4x4 truck drivers too!
So take this for what it’s worth! Maybe this post is helpful to you, or not. At least I feel better! Haha! No, in all seriousness, these tips are good for us all to review every now and then. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a mighty long time since I took driver’s training. No one has “arrived”. No one.