As you know, Michigan’s Mother Nature can be fickle. She is 40 degrees on Monday and 70 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday, then back to 40 on Thursday. This drastic change in temperature does more than confuses us about how to dress for the day. It is as unpredictable for driving within our great state.
While statistics show that more automobile accidents happen in the summer months, that doesn’t mean we should take winter driving lightly. You can do many things to be prepared for driving on snowy or icy roads this winter.
- Make sure your battery is in good condition.
- Check your cooling system or antifreeze level.
- Inspect your tires for tread depth & condition, and pay special attention to any cracks or flaws in your tires.
- Check your tire pressure; as temperatures decrease, so does tire pressure.
- Inspect your wiper blades and replace them if needed.
- Is your wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees?
- Keep your gas tank at least a quarter full to avoid a gas line being frozen.
- Are all your lights, turn signals, and hazard lights working?
- Does your braking system need maintenance?
- Keep your exhaust pipe clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your car.
- Have an emergency kit stored in your trunk.
Tips for safe driving practices
- Allow your car to warm up before leaving the driveway.
- Let people know your schedule (especially if it differs from a normal routine).
- Have extra warm clothing with you, blankets, hat, gloves…
- Adequately clean snow off windows AND your car’s hood, roof, and trunk. Remember, sometimes those form large ice chunks and can fly off your car onto the car behind you!
- Check the weather forecast before leaving on a trip.
- Be patient, you want to arrive safely.
- Give yourself extra time so you can adjust your speed to be safe.
- Don’t underestimate black ice; it is invisible and deadly.
- Be alert at all times.
- Avoid using cruise control.
- Give extra space between you and other cars.
- Don’t panic if you feel out of control; keep smooth and precise movements when changing lanes.
- If you do find yourself in a slippery situation, don’t slam on the brakes or accelerate.
You know your capabilities, and you know your car. Many have anti-lock brakes, traction control, or all-wheel drive. If driving a car you are unfamiliar with, take extra precautions.
Despite driving last winter, we sometimes need a refresher in driving on snowy or ice-covered roads. If you do have the unfortunate luck of becoming stuck in the snow, feeling your car going out of control, or having an accident, above all, don’t panic. Keep a calm and clear head, and help will come!
Request an appointment today, and Stroebel Automotive will help ensure your car is as ready for winter driving as possible!