Winter Driving Tips
It’s winter in Michigan. Plan ahead. Drive defensively. Arrive safe.
Winter in Michigan is unpredictable. Roads can go from snow-covered to icy with downpours to whiteouts. Your best defense is to be prepared.
Weather and road conditions can vary significantly even within a small radius. Here are some helpful winter road travel resources:
- State Police Winter Travel Hotline: 800-381-8477
- AAA Snow Reports: 800-644-7669
- Michigan Winter Travel Advisory
Your best defense against wintry road conditions is a cushion of time
- Keep windows, lights, hood, and roof clear of snow/ ice.
- Turn on your lights to increase visibility to other motorists.
- Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions.
- Watch the traffic well ahead for extra time to react safely.
- Use low gears to maintain traction, especially on hills.
- Keep a safe distance from maintenance vehicles and snowplows – at least 200 feet (it’s the law); don’t pass on the right.
- Do not cut quickly in front of heavy trucks, which need more time and distance to safely respond.
- Beware snow ridges between lanes; avoid abrupt changes.
- Break early and gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake. Do not pump anti-lock breaks. Stomp and steer is the correct way.
- Beware slippery bridge decks, more likely to ice up.
- Do not use cruise control or overdrive in wintery conditions.
- Don’t drive at all in adverse conditions if you can avoid it.
Winterize your vehicles for safety and fuel economy. This is also a good time to treat them to a complete checkup.
- Ignition system
- Snow tires
- Fuel system
- Exhaust system
- Proper grade oil
- Fluid levels
- Wiper blades
- Cooling system
- Windshield washer fluid
- Tire tread and pressure