Winter has arrived. Keep the following tips in mind to make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for winter emergencies.
- Preventive maintenance prior to the winter season is the best way to ensure safe travel. Regularly check fluid levels such as power steering, brake, windshield washer and oil.
- Make sure the antifreeze is strong enough to prevent freezing of the engine and fresh enough to prevent rust.
- In cold weather, you may also want to change the windshield washer fluid to one containing an antifreeze agent.
While proper maintenance is key, knowing how to drive in adverse conditions can also keep you safe. The Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide offers the following tips for driving in different weather conditions.
Wet & slippery roads:
- Turn on the wipers as soon as the windshield becomes wet.
- Turn on the low-beam headlights; this helps others see you.
- Drive 5 to 10 mph slower than normal and increase your following distance to 5 or 6 seconds.
- Be more cautious, and slow down on curves and when approaching intersections.
- Turn the defroster on to keep windows from fogging over.
- If you must make adjustments while driving, make sure the road ahead is clear before looking down at the dashboard – and look away for only a second or two.
- Make sure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice before driving. Driving can cause snow/ice to slide and block your view, or fly off and strike other vehicles.
- When starting to drive in snow, keep the wheels straight ahead and accelerate gently to avoid spinning the tires.
- Decrease your speed to make up for a loss of traction. Accelerate and decelerate gently, and be extra careful when braking.
- Stopping distances can be 10 times greater in ice and snow. Begin the slowing-down process long before a stop. Brake only when traveling in a straight line.
- Look ahead for dangerous spots, such as shaded areas and bridge surfaces that may be icy when the rest of the road is clear.
Lastly, check out the Auto Emergency Prepardness Kit Checklist from the Michigan State Police and see what you should have in your vehicle in case you are stranded.
Special thank you to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson for her content.