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MSP Offers Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Darren McCollester, Getty Images

With winter weather now upon us, the Michigan State Police Third District Headquarters is reminding motorists to be aware of several factors during winter driving.

Officers remind motorists to take precautions when stopping and turning in winter weather. Remember to do all of your braking before the turn is made and take proper line of travel through the turn to reduce the potential for a skid to occur. If your car begins to skid, let off the throttle and brakes and use quick hand over hand steering technique to turn the front tires in the direction you want to go.

“Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of the year, but especially during the winter months,” said Lt. Brian Cole, Third District Public Information Officer. “The most important factor to remember is the handling capability of your car is drastically reduced in winter weather so it is best to use a slower speed to compensate for decreased handling.”

Other safe driving tips include:

  • Keep tires at the car manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.
  • Keep windshield solvent at full strength and make sure the reservoir is full, and keep new wiper blades on front and rear wipers if so equipped.
  • Wash your car for better visibility to other drivers, and remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and the license plate before driving.
  • Periodically check all lights and replace when necessary.
  • Prepare a winter driving survival kit with items such as: an extra winter coat, pants, hats, boots and gloves; a flashlight with batteries, candle and candle holder; dry container of matches; jumper cables; tow strap; first aid kit; shovel; salt or kitty litter; road flares; and a spare tire or jack.
  • If you are stranded in a winter storm, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

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