Arrive Safe: Fall and Winter Driving Tips
Before you know it, the snow is going to be flying and we are going to be dealing with ice and snow covered roads. For many Metro Detroit area natives, getting around in this weather is no big deal. However, if you are new to the area, or if you’ve come from someplace where snow and ice don’t happen, the thought of driving in it can be terrifying. The rate of accidents increases significantly in the winter and fall, often because drivers and their cars are not prepared for the conditions. If you want to get around the metro Detroit area safely this winter, here are some tips to help you prepare and be safe.
Get Your Car Ready
If your car isn’t ready for winter, then you are probably more likely to have wintertime driving problems. What do we mean by get your car ready? Well, some basic auto maintenance activities are a great place to start.
Check your tires
Make sure your tires have adequate tread, are inflated to the correct specifications for your vehicle, and your tires have been balanced. If your tread is lower than 4/23nds of an inch, it’s time to replace them. If you can, buy a set of winter tires and then a set of all season tires for the other three seasons. This way, you know you will be driving on safe wheels all winter long.
Check fluid levels.
Make sure that your coolant, oil, transmission, and brake fluid levels are where they should be. This will ensure that your car has what it needs to not leave you stranded somewhere. Then, just as important, check the level of windshield washer fluid. Splash back can make driving dangerous, so be sure you can keep your windshield clean. You may even want to carry a bottle of washer fluid in your trunk.
Replace your windshield wipers
If your wipers are a couple of years old, they probably don’t work as well as they could, so before the snow comes make sure to get a new pair of wiper blades. This easy fix can make a huge difference in your safety.
Fall Driving Tips
Now that your car is ready to go, here are some tips to help you be safe driving in the fall.
- School’s in session! Watch out for buses and children. Follow the laws for school zones and please, always make sure you stop for flashing red bus lights. This means children are around the bus.
- Leaves can be just as hazardous as snow and ice, when wet. Make sure you drive with caution on leaf covered roads.
- Remember, decreasing temperatures means that rain or sleet can turn to ice quickly.
- Watch out for wildlife. They are preparing for winter, too, so they are out more. If you are in areas with wildlife crossings, reduce your speed and keep your eyes open.
Winter Driving Tips
Whew! You’ve made it through the fall and the slick leaves and wildlife, now it’s time to get ready for that cold winter driving.
- Know your route and know the weather conditions. Even your normal commute to work can be treacherous if you aren’t prepared and weather gets nasty. Take your time, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go.
- Have an emergency kit. This should include blankets, warm clothes, boots or old tennis shoes, a flash light, matches, lock deicer and most importantly food and water.
- Be prepared for mechanical issues. Check that your spare tire is fully inflated, and that you have proper tire chains, and put a set of jumper cables in your trunk. A bag of cat litter is also helpful for adding weight to your vehicle and providing traction if you get stuck on ice.
- Slow Down. Speeding is dangerous even on dry roads. Add slick or snowy conditions and it’s a recipe for disaster.
- Don’t pass plow trucks. These vehicles can’t maneuver the same as a car, so passing them can create a nasty accident if you or they make a wrong move.
- Don’t use cruise control. Cruise control can impact your ability to recover from a spin or slide.
- Remember bridges, over passes and roads that have light traffic are always icier.
- Don’t get comfortable with 4-wheel drive and your winter tires. Ice is ice, and these features do little to help you when you are traveling too fast on icy roads.
Looking The Best Auto Repair Shop in Fraser?
Michigan’s fall and winter don’t have to be scary times to drive. Taking the proper precautions and being mindful of the road conditions will keep you and your family safe. If you need to get your vehicle ready for winter, Car Guys Auto Center in Fraser, MI can help you with all of your vehicle maintenance needs. Call us today at (248) 285-4444 to schedule your winter car check-up.