Midwest winters can be brutal but driving, or at least road transportation, is still a requirement for most adults. According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately 70% of U.S. roads are located in snowy regions that get at least 5 inches of snow annually. Snow and ice go hand-in-hand in Michigan and such extreme winter weather conditions lead to almost 117,000 car-related injuries each year. Fortunately, there are some effective safe driving tips that can help you avoid a Michigan car crash even in icy conditions.
One of the best ways to avoid trouble is to prepare for it, and that’s especially important in the winter. Before heading out even for a short trip, make sure the basics are in order. Check and replace all fluids. Make sure your wipers, brakes, and battery are in working order. Install or replace your winter tires. And make sure you’ve updated your emergency road kit. A few preventative measures can go a long way.
Wearing a seatbelt at this point should be a no-brainer, but some people still like to argue the effectiveness of that decision. The thing is, it’s not just a smart decision, it’s the law. Seat belts have saved nearly 375,000 lives since 1975. They’re estimated to help avoid front-seat fatalities by 45% and front-seat injuries by at least 50% when worn correctly and consistently. Yes, they can be uncomfortable at first and in rare situations they can cause friction or injuries during an accident. But a burned or cut shoulder is still better than a lost life.
Reduce Your Speed and Go Easy On the Brakes
Speed is almost always a factor in any type of Michigan car crash, but icy conditions can make matters a lot worse. The first reaction when losing control of a vehicle is usually to hit or pump the brakes. Antilock brakes, however, don’t work well on ice and tend to lock the wheels. Your wheels will slide on ice regardless, but slow down early and keep your speed reduced to avoid losing total control of your car.
Turn Into a Slide
Cars fishtail or slide when the driver is going to fast. It doesn’t matter if you’re still 7 miles under the speed limit… if the back of your car is swerving, slow down. If it continues or you can’t control it, turn the steering wheel the direction the back of the car is going. Try not to overcorrect and send the car sliding the other way. A little practice, some deep breaths, and slower speeds should correct the problem and help you avoid having a Michigan car crash.
Don’t Stop for Accidents or Stranded Vehicles
It’s wonderful to lend a helping hand or be a good Samaritan when doing so won’t cause more problems. But when it comes to icy roads, pulling over to help someone can be a disastrous decision. Parking on the side of an icy or narrow road can other drivers lose control and you can get hurt or stranded just like the person you’re trying to help. Rather than be the hero that way, call the authorities instead–the local police or 911. They’ll send people equipped to handle the situation and you’ll avoid needing to contact a Michigan personal injury lawyer. But if you still need us, we’re just a call away.