Whether it’s your first Michigan winter or your fiftieth, it pays to take steps now to prepare for the coming season. Temperatures and wind chill below zero are not uncommon here and travel on snowy, slippery roads is almost guaranteed. Here are our best “get ready” tips.
Get It In Gear
As temperatures drop, you may want to have a mechanic look at your vehicle to make sure it’s road ready. And since it’s always better to be safe than sorry, make sure your vehicle is stocked with emergency supplies – and maybe a deck of cards or a board game in case the wait for assistance is long.
Some possible additions to your car safety kit might include:
- Energy bars and bottled water
- Windshield scraper
- Jumper cables
- Mobile phone charger
- First aid kit
- Sand for better traction (cat litter works too!)
- Flares and/or reflectors
You might also consider keeping a paper map in your glove box in case cell service makes mobile navigation impossible.
Goodyear recommends this simple test to measure the wear on your tire treads. Insert a quarter into your tread groove. If the tread touches Washington’s head, you’ve got about ⅛ inch of tread remaining. Even if your tires are in good shape, you may want to consider swapping them out for winter tires, especially if you live in a part of the state known for a lot of snow. And no matter what kind of tires you drive on, it’s important to maintain your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure – especially during winter weather.
Keep It Clean
Michigan offers a huge variety of year-round outdoor activities. If you’ll be spending time in the elements this winter, it may be worth investing in all-weather floor mats. They’re much easier to clean than carpet and you’ll congratulate yourself when you see the mud and muck trapped where you can just wash it away.
Slow It Down
Winter weather conditions may require you to make some small changes to the way you drive. You’ll want to leave extra travel time in case you run into snow plows or unplowed roads. Also, be sure to lower your speed to give yourself a longer reaction time to avoid hazards like black ice.
No matter where your vehicle takes you this winter, a few simple tweaks ensure you’ll get there safely – no matter the weather.