In Michigan, winter is never far away. We are either in the 5 to 6 months of winter weather, or we are getting prepared for it! Snow and icy and conditions can easily start occuring in October (there were just ice problems on I-75 in Northern Michigan October 16th!) as long into late April.
As another season of winter driving hits, it is important to make sure your car or truck is ready. A few tips:
- Tires. Check your tires. These are your most important tools for you to grip and use the road in snow and icy conditions. Make sure your tread is in good shape and take note of the wear. While most tires have a mileage recommendation, all age different. While they are expensive, if your tires are in need of replacing before the winter hits, replace them! This cost is easier than the cost of having a car accident or have to file an auto insurance claim.
- Windshield wipers. Are you windshield wipers in good condition to wipe away snow and ice? Make sure these are performing adequately, otherwise visibility can be an issue.
- Headlights, taillights bright beams. You probably are going to notice if you have a headlight out if you have been driving at night. But be sure to check them as well as your taillights. Remember how critical your taillights can be for the car behind you while driving at night in poor, snowy visibility. Another tip, if you are driving in heavy snow, actually use your low beams for better visibility.
- Your heater. If you haven’t had to run your heater yet, do so! There is nothing worse than having the first real cold day of the season to discover that your heater or defrost system is not working.
- In-car preparations. When driving in the winter, prepare for the worst, including the possibility of getting stuck. Make sure that you have flares, a blank, some bottled water and even some snacks while you wait for a tow truck.
- Battery. Battery life is critical in the winter time. Cold weather depletes batteries. Makes sure your battery is a full power and capacity before the winter weather hits.
Whether you live in Marquette or Lansing, all of us in Michigan have to deal with winter driving. Be sure to follow these steps to do it safely and responsibly. Safe driving!