Winter is coming! In case you missed it we have officially had our first snow dusting. Even though many of us have lived in Michigan for years, sometimes we forget we need to slow down and be a little more careful on the roads once the temperatures drop and the roads get slippery. So here are some tips to keep in mind this wintery season.
First Snow Tips
- Slow Down. Even though there is not a lot of snow on the ground, the sudden drop in temperature means any condensation on the road will freeze and become slippery. This means if you have to make a sudden stop, you at more likely to slide and possibly cause an accident.
- Make sure you tires are properly inflated. You can check your tire pressure at a local Belle Tire or gas station. The psi for your tires is usually located inside the driver side door.
- Do not Cruise. Avoid using cruise control on any slippery surface.
- Keep gassed up. Try and keep your gas tank at no less than half-full. This helps to avoid your gas line from freezing up.
- Do not use the park brake. Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
- Warm Up. Most of us will start our car a few minutes before getting in and leaving to try and melt off any snow and frost on the windshield. For those drivers who have a garage and warm up so they aren’t getting in a cold car, make sure you open your garage first. This helps prevent an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Long Winter Trips
When the snow starts to fall, it means we are closer to the holidays and people begin planning their Thanksgiving and Christmas drives to visit family. Here is what you should keep in mind for longer drives.
- Slow. Accelerate and Decelerate SLOWLY. This will help you gain better traction on the road and avoid skidding. When approaching a stop sign or red light, hit the brake slowly. Keep in mind that it takes longer to slow down and reach speed on icy roads.
- Emergency Pack. Keep an emergency car pack in your car. AAA offers all sized emergency car kits, and you can get one specifically for the winter season. This way if something happens to your car, you have the tools available to keep warm, try and dig yourself out, and create a safety barrier around your vehicle to warn other drivers.
- Do not exert yourself. To go off of the previous point, if you become stuck in the snow and have to dig yourself out, make sure you do not overdo it. Winter is a popular time of year when people exhaust themselves shoveling their snow and end up doing more harm than good. Take breaks when you need to; catch your breath; and take your time.
- Stay by your vehicle. In the event you break down, stay by your car. This is especially the case if you are in a bad storm. You risk another driver hitting you as you walk along the road, or getting lost if there is poor visibility. Your car will help you stay safe and warm. So stay there until help arrives.
- Hills. Do not stop while going up or down a hill if you can. You risk sliding. When going up the hill, try and gain inertia to help you push up. If you can take a flat road to your destination, even if it takes a little longer, take it. Driving hills in the winter can be very dangerous.
The Best Winter Driving Tip
Stay home. The best way to stay safe in the winter is to stay off the roads as much as possible. Be home with your family and don’t take the risk of driving on wet and slippery roads. In the event you are in an accident, call 911, and then call your Compass agent and make a claim.