Michigan residents are no stranger to snow and ice. That doesn’t mean, however, that every motorist is adept at driving in bad weather. Taking preventive measures to safeguard your vehicle and reminding yourself of the best moves to make in unexpected weather situations can go a long way toward preventing a Michigan car accident this winter.
Here are just seven ways to help you avoid a car crash while traveling on Michigan roads in the winter:
1. Clean off your car.
If your windshield is covered with snow and ice, don’t drive until the whole vehicle is cleaned off, including the roof. You need maximum visibility, especially when wintry conditions are not on your side.
2. Slow down.
Follow posted speed limits, of course, but when you realize that road conditions have become slippery and dangerous, slow down. Tires lose their grip when the road is slippery, which means braking is affected. You can react faster and more effectively to avoid a crash when you aren’t traveling at a high rate of speed.
3. Brush up on winter weather driving skills.
Knowing the best way to react should you unexpectedly hit black ice or find yourself in a sudden snowstorm will help protect you and others from a serious collision. If your car starts to skid, don’t hit the brakes. Do the opposite of your instinct and turn your wheels in the direction of the slide. Increase your following distance so you have a longer length with which to stop should something go wrong with the motorist in front of you.
4. Don’t expect too much of your vehicle.
Just like drivers can’t multitask effectively, your vehicle will not perform well when you expect it to do two things at once on snow or ice. Don’t brake and turn at the same time or speed up and turn simultaneously. You’re more likely to lose control.
5. Look out for potholes.
When bad weather hits and roads are covered potholes are difficult to see. These conditions are also a recipe for creating more potholes. Hundreds of accidents are caused by holes in the asphalt, causing cars to lose to control or suffer serious damage. Combine potholes with winter weather conditions and you have a formula for a car accident.
6. Don’t text and drive.
Distracted driving kills. If you’re attempting to use your smartphone while driving – whether texting, talking, emailing, or taking photos – just don’t. You already put your life in danger trying to use your phone while driving on a day without snow and ice. This behavior increases your chances of being involved in a Michigan car crash tenfold.
7. Prepare your car.
Defensive driving is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself on the road in wintry conditions in Michigan. But just as important is preparing your car for winter, and that means more than having a ice scraper in your glove compartment. Check your tires for air level and tread wear. Some cars require snow tires. Check antifreeze level. Make sure headlights and brake lights are working. Keep your gas above half a tank to prevent a freezing gas line. Store a survival kit in your car in case you break down or become stranded, including blankets and clothes, a first aid kit, flares, water, and non-perishables.
Be Smart About Driving in Michigan Winter Weather
It pays to spend a few seconds checking the weather before you hit the road. If you absolutely must go out in bad conditions, give yourself extra time to get where you need to go and simply drive carefully. Accidents do happen, but you don’t need to encourage them to happen by driving recklessly.
If you have suffered a personal injury or been involved in a Michigan car accident in winter weather, contact Michigan personal injury attorney David C. Femminineo in Macomb County. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.