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Tips to Keep You Safe on Snowy, Icy Roads

Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving in winter weather this season.

The weather outside is frightful.

A chance for more snow in Chesterfield Township and New Baltimore lingers through Saturday night, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service.

For motorists, icy and snow-covered roads can make travel a bit tricky.

The Michigan Department of Transportation offers the following winter driving tips:

  • In ice and snow, take it slow. Michigan’s Basic Speed Law requires motorists to drive in all conditions at a “careful and prudent” speed that allows for a safe stop. During the winter, this could mean driving slower than the posted speed limit.
  • Brake and accelerate slowly. Don’t pump anti-lock brakes. Apply steady brake pressure to avoid skidding.
  • Merge slowly, too. Avoid abrupt steering maneuvers, especially when merging or changing lanes.
  • Be extra cautious on bridges. They can be icy even when roadways are dry.
  • Driving on salted roads can be more dangerous than driving on roads that have been plowed, but not salted. At temperatures below 20 degrees, salt refreezes and can become ineffective. You can tell if the salt is doing its job if the slush being thrown by passing vehicles is to the side of the wheels and splashing. If the slush begins to stiffen and is thrown directly behind the wheels, the salt is losing effectiveness and icy conditions may develop.

It’s also important to keep your vehicle in good condition. The Department of State and the Michigan Sheriffs' Association offer these winter driving tips:

  • Make sure your vehicle has working wiper blades, proper tire inflation, sufficient battery charge and the appropriate levels of antifreeze and window-washer fluid.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a blanket/warm clothes, flashlight, jumper cables, tow rope, shovel, battery-operated radio and snacks that store well, such as raisins or candy bars.
  • If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, do not spin your wheels. Use a shovel to dig around the wheels and undercarriage. Then, turn the wheel from side to side to clear snow away from the front tires and gently ease the vehicle out.
  • If you get stuck in the snow and have to wait in your vehicle, make sure it has fresh air by checking to see if the exhaust system is plugged by snow. To prevent carbon monoxide exposure, open a window or turn off your car.

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