Tips for Safer Winter Driving

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Driving in the winter can be difficult for even the most experienced drivers.

According to a report by MoneyGeek.com, Michigan is the most dangerous state to drive in during winter months. In fact, the state averages 49 deaths from driving each winter.

The data, which was pulled from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration analysis, showed that the deaths occurred when there was snow, sleet, blowing snow or freezing drizzle on roadways.

Wava Fischer, an instructor for Dynamic Driving School, said although not all winter driving accidents can be prevented, there are steps drivers can take to decrease their odds of ending up in a ditch or becoming a fatality in inclement weather:

  • Clear snow off your car completely
  • Drive with at least a four-second following distance
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • Be aware of black ice
  • Steer gently
  • Drive in low gears
  • Drive in the tracks of cars ahead of you
  • Approach intersections cautiously
  • Slow down

“Being prepared can be the key to staying alive,” said Fischer. “Know your vehicle and its abilities, be aware of your surroundings and know what to do if you encounter bad weather.”

If you find yourself sliding on snow or ice, the Michigan State Police has some tips to help keep you safe:

  • Don’t panic
  • Take your foot off the gas and do not hit the brakes
  • Steer the front of your vehicle into the skid (the same direction you are sliding)
  • If you must use the brakes, do not allow them to lock up; gently pump the brake pedal, unless your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes
  • If your car has anti-lock brakes, use a firm, steady pressure without pumping

“Getting to your destination quickly isn’t worth your life,” said Fischer. “Stay alert, slow down and stay in control.”

Tags: winter driving

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