Winter Driving Safety Tips

There's nothing quite like winter in the Midwest. The crisp air, a blanket of shimmering snow, and holiday spirit combine to make the coldest season truly wondrous. But it can, and often does, play havoc with your travel needs. Whether simply driving to work or traveling to share an annual feast with friends and family, winter can be a fatal foe if not properly planned for. According to Michigan State Police statistics, the months of December and January tend to have significantly more car accidents than any other time of year while the summer months of July and August have a slight lead in fatalities. Fortunately, there are some simple winter driving tips to help you and your loved ones avoid a Michigan auto accident.

Get Your Car Winter-Ready

The first step to surviving winter roads is to begin the season with a winterized vehicle. Before December, make sure you've had your fluids thoroughly checked. This includes windshield wiper fluid.  If any are low or if leaks are present, repair and top off with winter-grade solutions. Any worn belts should be replaced at this time as well as a tune-up performed to ensure proper engine and transmission power throughout the coldest months.

Check all tires to ensure they’re properly inflated. According to Goodyear, a 10-degree difference in falling temperatures can lead to a 1-2 lbs air pressure change per square inch. Setting your pressure just three psi above manufacturer suggestion can help prevent winter hydroplaning. Even new tires should be checked for proper pressure at least once a month. And don’t skip out on the new winter tires prior to the coldest winter months, especially if the tread is worn.

Keep Your Vehicle Emergency-Ready

A Michigan auto accident can occur at any time, but it can be especially scary during the coldest months. But ensuring your vehicle is properly stocked is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep it together until help arrives. Keep your gas tank and antifreeze full during winter to avoid unnecessary issues. Also make sure you always have an inflated spare, jack, flares, and jumper cables in the trunk. Batteries and a flashlight, a shovel, tool kit, first aid kit, ice scraper, windshield washer fluid, non-perishable food and drinks, extra clothing, boots, mittens, and hats are some essential items that will help keep everyone calm and secure throughout the season.

Be Extra Careful and Alert Behind the Wheel

You can only control your own actions on the road, but sometimes even that’s not quite enough to avoid trouble. Whiteouts, black ice, extreme precipitation, and dangerous or reckless drivers can result in an unexpected call to a car accident attorney. Safe driving should always be a constant habit, but special care is required in the winter. So slow down and pay extra attention to your surroundings. Limit the chit-chat inside the car and avoid all distracted driving. Your loved ones will thank you.

Give Yourself Plenty of Extra Time

A regular or consistent destination may take 10 or 15 minutes in the best situation. But Michigan winters are guaranteed to challenge even the simplest treks. Inclement weather can strike at any time, and a Michigan auto accident is often the result. Expect your trip time to double or even triple to get there safely. And be sure to slow your driving speed and give extra distance on the road. But if the worst still occurs, a call to the right car accident attorney can help get you right back on the road again.


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