In Michigan, driving places is something we pretty much all have to do, no matter the weather. After all, kids still need to get to school, shopping still needs to be done, and who can be late for work?
So we reached out to AAA of Michigan for the top 10 things people should remember when they’re about to head out or behind the wheel. These tips are simple to follow and they might make a big difference when you’re out on the icy, wet, or snow-covered roads.
1. Before starting out, remove ice and snow from the entire car, mirrors and lights so you have clear driving visibility.
2. Don’t use cruise control in sleet, snow or rain and freezing temperatures.
3. Remember that four-wheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any faster.
4. Know your vehicle’s braking system. Drivers with anti-lock brakes should apply firm, constant pressure while those without may need to pump the pedal in order to avoid loss of traction while stopping.
5. Always drive at a speed that matches the prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions – even if that means driving below the posted speed limit.
6. Compensate for reduced traction by increasing your following distances (normally three to four seconds) to eight to ten seconds.
7. Allow sufficient room for maintenance vehicles and plows, stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back and, if you need to pass, go to the other vehicle’s left.
8. Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
9. If you get stuck in snow or ice, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Add sand or cat litter under the drive wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.
10. If your tires lose traction, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.
Be safe out there and share with someone who you know has to drive in this stuff!