To say that driving in a Michigan winter can be dangerous sounds silly saying it out loud… because, DUH! Even if you are a recent transplant, you’ll by now just how crazy it can get out there during the winter months. It’s worth it, though, because this is a wonderful place to live, but there are some things you can do to stay safe. Today, we focus on brake safety.
Make sure your tires are appropriate for the conditions. Snow tires are a must. Proper tread depth also a must. Both of these will affect your braking on snowy icy roads.
Be aware that all of the de-icing salts and chemicals work to keep the ice on our roadways down, but it also makes your brakes wear out. If you haven’t had someone check this out already this winter, do it now.
Our weather can be insane and it greatly contributes to the number of accidents in our state. In fact, we are in the top five for winter accidents and between Christmas and New Years alone, there were over 30 roadway deaths caused by the bad weather. Whenever possible, plan ahead and avoid being on the road when weather conditions are at their worst.
Give yourself plenty of room and plenty of time. Keep space around you whenever possible and never, ever be in a hurry. Even when you’re running late, don’t be in a hurry. Slow and steady in cruddy weather certainly wins the race. Better late than in a ditch.
Don’t be in a hurry to come to a stop. Give yourself plenty of time to gradually slow down when approaching a stop sign or a traffic signal. It would sure be a bummer if you slide into the middle of the intersection or worse yet, run into the back of the vehicle in front of you.
Speed limit signs don’t tell you HAVE to go that fast, and in winter conditions, it’s often a good idea to go slower. Go as slow as the conditions dictate. Not only does it give you more stopping time, but it also allows you to adjust to other drivers, road conditions, and anything else unexpected.
For goodness sakes, don’t tailgate! Who wants to end up munching on the bumper of the car in front of you.
Only slam on your brakes if you are sure you want to end up losing control of your vehicle. That’s a sure-fire way to lose control and end up in a ditch or worse.
Don’t rely on ABS in the ice. Yes, they work well under normal conditions, but they really aren’t great on the ice.
Other basics in keeping you safe this winter:
Keep an emergency kit in your car with jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, a warm blanket, snacks, necessary meds, warm gloves.
Keep extra wiper fluid in the back and never use just water. I know that might be obvious, but…
Make sure your wiper blades are working right and not worn out.
Scrape the ENTIRE windshield, not just the 6 inches right in front of you. That never works out well.
Your 4-wheel drive truck may look super cool, but it won’t in a ditch. 4-wheel drive does not, I say NOT, keep you from stopping.
Hopefully these tips will help keep you safe! Your brakes absolutely need to be in tip-top condition so get in to see the awesome and talented team at Armstead Automotive Repair to make sure that’s what they are right now. Schedule an appointment or call us at 248-634-0399. Our full-service auto repair facility for personal and fleet vehicles is located at 15310 Fish Lake Road, Holly, MI 48442. Happy Michigan winter everyone!