Michigan has already had its first taste of heavy snow … and that means you’ve likely also had your first taste of Michigan winter driving! Unfortunately, with the winter weather comes car accidents, including roadway slide-offs and sometimes unavoidable collisions.
Here are some winter driving tips from our Michigan auto accident attorneys, to help keep you safe as you venture out on the roads.
Be sure your vehicle is in proper working order and is prepared for winter.
This means making sure your wiper blades are in working order, that you maintain the proper fluid levels in your vehicle, that your tires are properly inflated, and that your battery is in good condition.
Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Michigan roads can be deceptively slippery this time of year. Even if the road only “looks wet,” there is the real possibility that you may be driving on black ice.
Failing to drive at a speed that is appropriate for the road conditions could have devastating consequences — not only for you, but for others on the road. It’s also against the law. The Michigan Vehicle Code requires that, among other things, drivers operate their vehicles in a manner that is appropriate for the road conditions. MCL 257.627(1) says:
“A person operating a vehicle on a highway shall operate that vehicle at a careful and prudent speed not greater than or less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition then existing. A person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than that which will permit a stop within the assured, clear distance ahead.”
Be sure to drive slowly, accelerate/decelerate slowly, and leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. The suggestion? Leave one car length for every 10 miles per hour.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving in inclement weather, pull over or just stay home.
If you do not have to venture out, stay home! If you must drive, then be sure to exercise proper judgment. If road conditions are too treacherous and you are in the position to do so, consider pulling over until conditions improve, if you can do so in a safe place.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, in case you become stranded. Some suggested items to include are:
- winter coat
- extra clothing and accessories (winter pants, socks, sweaters, sweatshirts, hat, boots, gloves)
- non-perishable food items
- flashlights with batteries
- first aid kit
- sand, salt, and/or kitty litter
Remember: everyone needs to make smart decisions on the road. And although your journey might start smoothly, road and weather conditions can change in an instant. So be prepared and follow these Michigan winter driving tips to keep yourself, your passengers and others on the roadways safe.
In this video, Lansing personal injury attorney Stephen Sinas talks with FOX 47’s “Morning Blend” about driving safely in wintry conditions.
If you’ve been in an accident and have questions about your injuries or your Michigan auto no-fault insurance, our experienced attorneys are here to help you. Contact our Lansing auto accident lawyers or Grand Rapids car accident attorneys for a free consultation.