Equipping Your Car for Winter
By Isabella Telgenhof
Winter is upon us and for Michiganders that means slippery roads, lake-effect snow, and storms resulting in knee-high high piles of white powder A key aspect of living in Michigan is being prepared for anything the weather might throw at us. With ever-changing weather, slippery roads, and white-out conditions it often becomes unsafe to drive during the middle of your trip. The reality of living in Michigan is getting stuck in the snow or sheltered in your house. However, in these conditions, the most important aspect is being prepared. The best thing that you can do to stay safe from these Michigan winters is to be prepared and always have more than you will think you will need. Keep reading to learn how you can best equip your car and stay safe from the harsh and unpredictable weather. The first step to prepare yourself is buying snow tires for your car. Snow tires are helpful for breaking and driving in slippery winter conditions. These often help to prevent sliding on ice and help stop some accidents. The tires have wider tread gaps than regular tires which helps to prevent your car from getting caught up in the snow and ice. Although snow tires are very helpful, they do not stop everything, so keep this in mind and always drive with caution in hazardous conditions. Oftentimes, bad weather happens at the most unexpected times. . It is always important to be prepared for any cold weather. Make sure your car is packed with essentials like extra clothing, blankets, jackets, gloves, hats, and scarves. Even though you might never need them it is always better to be overprepared than stranded in negative 20-degree weather with no warm clothes.
Another unpredictable condition to be prepared for is being stuck in a snowbank. When this happens, the first thing to do is turn off your car to prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Getting stuck in a snowbank leads to the suggestion of equipping your car with a shovel in your trunk if the space is available. Another helpful resource is keeping sand or cat litter in your vehicle, both common tools used to provide traction and melt snow when you might be in a slushy situation. Although this may seem extreme, it is better to be safe than sorry. The tool that most everyone has if they have driven in the snow is the brush and scraper combo that is kept in the trunk until the snow hits and then promoted to the backseats. When you live in a city where it snows, it can pile up and melt and refreezing can also lead to ice that can build up on the windows and windshield overnight. Having one of these brushes/scrapers handy can help clear out your vision for the drive ahead, and driving with an unclear windshield is highly illegal. Be sure to always turn your defrost on as soon as possible and watch the snow melt off of your windshield. . The roads are already dangerous so making sure that you can at least keep the surroundings in check is very important.
Conditions on the roads during the winter are just as unpredictable as Michigan weather. Just remember to take steps to keep you and your car safe through these cold months. Stay alert and drive slowly and safely. You are much too important to speed in dangerous conditions and put yourself at risk. Take these tips you want and put them to good use this winter!