Navigating Michigan’s Winter Wonderland: 5 Essential Tips for Safe Driving

I don’t know if this happened to you this morning, but there was ice and snow on my car! It’s only November 1st!! As the cruel, frosty fingers of winter start to grasp our mornings, it’s time for everyone to be a little bit of a prepper. Snow and ice may make their surprise early appearance this year, but we’ve got your back. Here are five easy-to-remember tips to help students stay safe, ready and cozy on the road during the early cold season!

  1. Bundle Up and Be Prepared:

As you step out into the chilly morning, make sure to dress warmly. Grab a winter coat, hat, gloves, and a sturdy pair of boots. It’s also a smart idea to keep a blanket in your car – you never know when it might come in handy. And don’t forget your sunglasses to combat the bright winter sun reflecting off the snow or just being right in the “wrong” spot in the morning.

  1. Prepare Your Car:

Give your vehicle a little extra love during the cold months. Check that your tires have sufficient tread and are properly inflated. Consider switching to winter tires for better traction on icy roads. Ensure your brakes, lights, and defrosters are in excellent working condition. And always keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent fuel line freeze-ups too.

  1. Clear the Snow and Ice:

Before hitting the road, take a few extra minutes to clear your vehicle of snow and ice. Brush the snow off your car, including the roof, hood, and all windows. Clear ice from your windshield, mirrors, and lights. It’s not just for your safety; it’s also the law in many places.

  1. Warm Up Your Car:

Do you like getting woken up, freezing cold, and being told to run? No? Neither does your car! Yes, your car needs a little warm-up too! Start your vehicle a few minutes before you plan to leave to give the engine and cabin time to heat up. This not only keeps you toasty but also helps your engine run more efficiently in the cold.

  1. Increase Following Distance and Slow Down:

When the roads are slick, it’s crucial to reduce your speed and increase your following distance. Don’t see any ice? That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any. Black ice is extremely dangerous and near impossible to spot while driving, so in the cold months it’s best to assume it’s there. Give yourself plenty of space to stop safely, and avoid sudden movements or sharp turns. This means more than 3 seconds of distance – try to double that follow time at least. Remember, it’s better to arrive a little later than not at all.


Bonus Tip: Emergency Kit:

Consider putting together a winter emergency kit for your car. Include items like a flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable snacks, a small shovel, and kitty litter (for added traction if you get stuck in the snow).

Hopefully with these quick tips, you’ll be better prepared for winter driving in Michigan. Stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy the scenic beauty of our winter wonderland. Okay folks, that’s it for me. Happy driving! 🚗❄️🧤