Punxutawny Phil may have predicted an early spring this year but the weather in Hastings and in the general Barry County area suggests winter is here to stay, at least for a little while longer. While most people on the road consider themselves adept at driving in wintry conditions, a refresher on Winter Driving Tips in Michigan seemed like a great topic for discussion. Today, we’re focusing on specific tips and techniques to keep you accident free and your vehicle on the road!
One of the easiest things you can do to avoid a collision or ending up in a ditch, is to slow down. Remember, those speed limits posted on the side of the road are meant for dry, ideal conditions and no longer apply when streets are covered in ice and snow. Not only is your traction reduced in inclement weather but often times, your visibility as well. Reduce your speed but also avoid braking, accelerating, turning or maneuvering abruptly. Your vehicle will require extra time to accomplish all of these things so give it the extra time to do so.
No Cruise Control
Cruise control is a wonderful convenience and a great tool to utilize in getting better gas mileage but it can spell disaster for you on slippery roads. Because cruise control automatically manages the speed of a vehicle to a desired setting, if your car, truck or SUV suddenly begins to hydroplane or skid, it will accelerate, spinning the wheels in an attempt to maintain that speed. This acceleration, instead of the natural deceleration you would do if you were controlling it manually, is more likely to make you lose control of your vehicle. If you’re in the habit of using cruise control often, reduce the odds of an accident and make sure you never use it in rain, snow, sleet or icy conditions.
Watch For Black Ice
Black ice gets its name because of its transparency over the road. It’s particularly dangerous because unlike snow, black ice offers traction. Black ice most often forms when there’s no longer daylight and temperatures begin drop. It can form fastest on bridges and overpasses, but it’s possible to encounter it on any roadway, night or day. Be on the look out for shiny spots on roads that look dark and glossy. If you do find yourself driving on it, avoid braking, keep your steering wheel steady while lifting your foot off the accelerator.
Use Your Headlights
Visibility is diminished in inclement weather so make your vehicle as easy to spot as possible! Making sure your headlights and taillights are clear and using them even in daytime accomplishes this easy tip. Don’t believe us? Next time you’re on the road, pay attention to which vehicles you spot first and whether or not they have their headlights running. Keep in mind that snow and fog reflect light back causing glare, so it’s highly recommended to use only your low-beam headlights in inclement weather.
Give Yourself Some Space
There’s no question about it… your vehicle’s braking distance is going to be negatively affected on slippery roads. It takes extra time and extra space to slow and stop your vehicle on snow covered roads. Give yourself some extra space in case the vehicle in front of you brakes abruptly or even begins to lost control. Experts suggest increasing your following distance to 8-10 seconds on snow or icy roads. Not only will it help prevent you from colliding with the vehicle in front of you but it will alleviate a lot of unwanted stress as well.
Keep It Clear
Have you ever had the misfortune of being behind a vehicle whose driver only cleared the windshield of their car but nothing else? The snow flying off of their car can reduce your own visibility but not being able to see when they’re braking because their indicator lights are covered creates a dangerous situation. Before heading out on the road, be sure to clear not just your windshield entirely but your headlights, hood, top of your vehicle, trunk, taillights and all windows. While we’re on the subject of keeping clear, we’d be remiss without mentioning to make sure your windshield washer fluid is kept full. Winter is a dirty time of year with salt, oil and other grungy debris on the road’s surface and it can make a mess of your windshield. Make sure you can keep it clean by maintaining a full washer reserve.
At Broadmoor Motors Hastings, we know accidents are never planned and often times they’re very costly. Being without your vehicle while it’s getting repaired or while you shop for another one is also highly inconvenient. We hope our Winter Driving Tips can help you avoid any accidents this year but if the worst should occur, we’re here to get you back on the road! With long or short term Car Rentals and even direct billing to insurance companies who allow it, we make it as painless as possible. We offer a variety of vehicles for rent and in the unfortunate event you need to replace your car, truck or SUV, we have a constantly changing sales inventory, stocked with vehicles for any budget. Financing available to those who qualify. Stay safe this winter while you’re out on the road and let us know if we can do anything for you. Broadmoor Motors Hastings is here for all your Car Rental and Car Sales needs!!