7 Rules of Winter Driving Everyone from Michigan Knows
...and one you didn't. Make sure you're following these best practices to stay safe on Michigan roads this Winter.
The 193 car pileup on I-94 in 2015 is an anomaly, but anything can happen on the road with unpredictable Winter weather. We collected this advice from Michigan State Police, the Secretary of State, Michigan Office of Highway safety and others to keep your family safe:
Michigan Winter DrivingTips:
Slow down: Speed played a factor in more than 50% of fatal traffic accidents from 2014-2018. Snowy and icy conditions in the Winter make cars more difficult to control and increase stopping distance. "Drive slow on ice and snow," is the advice from Michigan State Police.
Consider Winter tires: Winter tires can allow you to stop up to 50% faster on ice and snow. This is equivalent to stopping 2-3 car lengths sooner.
Wear your seat belt: It can save your life. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in the U.S. and could have saved an additional 2,549 people — if they had buckled up.
Make sure the kids are in proper car/booster seats: Children should ride in car seats or booster seats until they are at least 4' 9" tall. Until then, adult seat belts will not fit them correctly and will not protect them as well in a crash.
Be prepared: Every vehicle should have an emergency kit with a blanket, flashlight, jumper cables, a shovel, sand or kitty litter, non-perishable snacks and bottled water.
No texting: Distracted driving is another leading factor in most crashes. Not just phones, but taking your eyes off the road for any reason, removing your hands from the wheel or taking your mind off what you're doing can increase risk factors- especially in Winter conditions.
Don't drink and drive: Solid advice year 'round.
Do not use cruise control: This is the one you may not have known. Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says, "don’t use cruise control on ice and snow. If your car skids, the cruise control will accelerate to maintain a constant speed — spinning your wheels even faster and increasing the chance you will lose control of your vehicle."
Lastly, remember that even if you are following all of these best practices, the other guy may not be. Look out for each other and be safe out there.
The Michigan Winter Weather Olympics 2020