Safe Driving Tips for Winter

The Department of State and the Michigan Sheriffs' Association recommend the following tips to keep you and your family safe while driving in winter weather:

  • No matter the season, drinking and driving is dangerous and illegal.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
    • Have working wiper blades
    • Fill up on antifreeze and window-washer fluid
    • Check for proper tire inflation
    • Ensure your battery has sufficient charge
  • Keep an emergency kit ready in your vehicle. It should include:
    • A blanket or warm clothes (boots, coat, gloves)
    • A flashlight
    • Jumper cables
    • Tow rope
    • Shovel
    • Bag of sand or cat litter for traction
    • Battery-operated radio
    • State map to use in case of a detour
    • Snacks such as raisins, candy bars or other items that store well
  • To avoid slipping off the roadway, drive more slowly and give yourself more room to stop.
    • Brake gently to prevent skidding
  • If your vehicle does get stuck:
    • Never spin your wheels. That only digs the tires in more deeply
    • Use a shovel to dig around the wheels and undercarriage
    • Turn the steering wheel from side to side to clear snow away from the front tires
    • Gently ease the vehicle out
    • If that doesn't work, try rocking the vehicle by shifting into forward and giving it some gas and then shifting it into reverse and accelerating until the vehicle is free
  • Let other people know your travel plans so if you don't arrive they'll know where to start looking.
    • Tell people the route you plan to take
  • Make sure your vehicle has fresh air if you become stuck by checking the exhaust system to see if it's plugged by snow.
    • Open a window or turn off your car if necessary
    • Carbon monoxide produced by your vehicle is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill
  • Check the news for weather reports or visit weather sites such as www.weather.gov.