Safe Winter Driving: How to Drive Safely in Snow
Michigan drivers know winter. At least, we like to think we do. There’s just one problem: with Michigan winter weather conditions, drivers can’t afford that bravado.
After all, Michigan is one of the top ten most dangerous states to drive in during the winter.
If the weather outside is frightful, keep these safe winter driving tips in mind before you hit the road.
Michigan drivers have a certain degree of pride about driving in snow. We know Michigan winters, so we like to think that we can drive in winter the same way we drive in the summer.
But when the roads get slippery, apply the age-old mantra of the tortoise: slow and steady wins the race.
Unfortunately, slippery roads mean you rarely have as much traction as you think. More importantly, taking extra time to accelerate, decelerate, and turn in slippery conditions will grant you more control over the several thousand-pound metal box you’re driving over snow and ice. This will make it far easier to maintain traction with the road—and easier to regain control if you lose traction.
It’s All About Tires
In winter, the biggest concern is traction, which means that when the rubber hits the road, your foremost concern is your tires.
As any racecar driver will tell you, tires make the difference between the finish line and a blowout. The same is true in the snow.
To have adequate snow traction, a tire (including a snow tire) needs at least a 6/32-inch-deep tread. Most passenger cars with brand new tires have a tread of 10/32 inches, but keep in mind that your tire treads wear out as you use them.
If you haven’t had your tires changed in a while, take your car in to your mechanic. Most tire stores will check tread depth for you and can let you know if you need a fresh set.
This is the least popular tip on the list, but unfortunately, it’s also the most effective.
The truth is, it’s always going to be less safe to drive in snow than it is to drive on clear, dry roads. The precautions you take may not be enough to account for poor traction, black ice, rapidly changing conditions, or another driver not paying attention.
If the weather starts looking rough, the safest bet is always to stay put.
If you’re already traveling and the weather takes a turn for the worse, stay put in a hotel room. Even if you’re used to driving in snow, you have no way of knowing whether everyone else does. The safest option is to remove yourself from the equation until safer conditions return.
If you can’t stay put for very long, try to wait until the snowplows and sanding crews pass through.
When Safe Winter Driving Isn’t Enough to Prevent Accidents
Unfortunately, there are times when responsible, safe winter driving isn’t enough to protect you on the snowy Michigan roads. And if you get caught in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, you deserve to have your voice heard.
At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, our expert auto accident attorneys have won millions for families like yours over the past 25 plus years. But more importantly, we treat every client with the same care, dedication, and kindness we would give to our own loved ones. Because we know that when you’re going through a frightening time, you wouldn’t want anything less.
If you need to speak with an attorney about your car accident, click here to schedule your free consultation.