Even though winter comes every year in southeastern Michigan and metro Detroit, it seems like some drivers forget how to drive in the snow. It is frustrating to get behind someone driving slower for conditions or slamming on their brakes, when there is only a dusting of snow on the roadway, so drivers should proceed defensively.
The team of legal professionals Bashore Green wants to remind you that winter driving requires more stopping distance and often requires an assumption that the roads are slick. Black ice is always possible.
Besides being careful and changing how you drive, drivers should also prepare for the roads and know what they might expect with the daily weather report. If bad weather is forecast, allow for extra travel time, or delay your plans.
If you must travel in the snow and cold, make sure your vehicle is in top running shape. Check your ignition, tires, brakes, spark plugs, battery, and wiring. It is just one less thing you must think about when you travel in questionable conditions.
Even if you have checked the weather and made sure your vehicle is working well, you may find yourself in an unsafe situation. If you encounter whiteout conditions, it might be best to find a safe place to pull over and wait it out. Remember to leave more distance between you and the other cars in front of you. You never know when someone might lose control in ice or slush. Always use caution when braking or accelerating.
Here are some tips courtesy of AAA Michigan on how to prepare for winter driving:
- Along with at least half a tank of gas, also keep boots, mittens, blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, non-perishable food, water, a shovel, a first aid kit, jumper cables, and a compass in your vehicle. Also keep a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, and medications.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of treads.
- Always keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
And it never hurts to have some reminders on tips for driving in the snow:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Do not try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you must stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There is a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Do not “power up” hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed, and proceed downhill slowly.
- Do not hit the brakes or decelerate while driving up a hill, as it could be treacherous if the road is ice or snow-covered.
Auto accidents in Michigan happen, but at Bashore Green, our personal injury lawyers want to be a part of preventing them as much as possible. If you or someone close to you has recently been injured in an auto accident, contact a Bashore Green attorney today. Chances are that our experienced lawyers will be able to help.