Steps To Prepare Your Car For Winter Driving In Michigan

Winter is approaching in Michigan, and more challenging road conditions are coming. Whether it is snow, ice, or sleet, there are more serious and fatal accidents in winter weather; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 374 deadly car accidents and 25,000 serious injuries in 2020 in wintry conditions.

In this article, you will learn how to prepare your car for Michigan winters to keep you and your family safe on the roads. If you have questions about a recent accident, our Detroit car accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C. can help you.


As the temperature in Detroit drops, so does the inflation pressure of your tires. Each fall, ensure all your tires are filled to the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is listed in the vehicle owner’s manual. It also should be on the inside of the driver’s door frame. However, you should not inflate the tires to the pressure stamped on the tire; this is the maximum pressure, not what is recommended for your car. Other tire tips to follow this winter are:

  • Check your tires every month, especially before taking longer trips.
  • Check your tires when they are cold and have not been driven on for several hours.
  • Check the tread for signs of wear. Nothing is more hazardous than driving on bald tires on slick Michigan roads in January.
  • Check how old each tire is. Many car manufacturers recommend replacing a tire every six years, regardless of mileage.

Windshield Wipers

All it takes is a significant winter storm and you can run through your windshield wiper fluid. Ensure the reservoir is full of winter windshield wiper fluid before every Michigan winter. Double-check that your windshield wipers are still in good condition and remove snow and ice well. You should install heavy-duty windshield wipers if you are in a particularly snowy part of the state.

Emergency Kit

Every vehicle in Michigan should have an emergency kit suited for winter weather, including:

  • Ice scraper and snow shovel
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction if your vehicle gets stuck
  • Flashlight, jumper cables, and warning flares
  • Blankets
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Water and food
  • First-aid kit

Fuel Level

If you have a gas-powered vehicle, keep the tank as full as possible. You do not want to be stranded on the road in a snowstorm and run out of fuel. For electric and hybrid cars, try to reduce the drain on the battery in cold weather. Most cars drain the battery to keep the cabin warm in chilly temperatures. The battery drain can be reduced by keeping the electric vehicle warm in the garage in cold temperatures. One way to do this with an electric car is to plug it in at night in cold weather to keep the battery temperature in the ideal range.

Car Battery

Car batteries degrade in warm weather, but it may not be until they are asked to crank a cold motor in the winter that they run out of power. This is because icy weather reduces the battery’s charge when you want it to do more work.

Have a mechanic check the battery to ensure it has sufficient power for cold conditions and is ready for the winter. The car battery’s cables and clamps should be tight and clean, so the battery does not lose power from a bad connection. If you notice corroded terminals, you can clean them by disconnecting them and cleaning them with an old toothbrush, water, and baking soda.

How To Drive Safely In The Winter

Keeping your car in optimal condition will help keep you safe this winter, as will safe driving practices. Keep these tips at the top of mind to get where you need to go safely:

Clear Off Your Vehicle

If your car sits outside, use a snow brush and ice scraper to remove ice and snow from all windows and car surfaces. Doing so ensures the best visibility, and clearing snow from the trunk and roof will prevent it from blowing off and reducing other drivers’ visibility.

Drive Slowly And Smoothly

The biggest reason there are more accidents in winter weather is drivers forget that they need to slow down and avoid aggressive starts, stops, and turns. You have less traction in ice and snow, so you must accelerate slowly, drive smoothly, and gently direct the car through turns. Apply the brakes gentler and sooner than usual because the car takes longer to stop. Also, only do one driving action at a time; trying to brake and turn on an icy road could cause a loss of control.

Do Not Overestimate All-Wheel-Drive (AWD)

Many vehicles today use all-wheel-drive to get extra grip on slick roads. AWD can help keep the car moving in certain icy and snowy conditions, but man drivers become overconfident because they think AWD will let them drive as fast as usual on a slick road.  However, AWD is only useful when going straight ahead; it offers no advantage when you brake or corner.

Keep Your Foot Firm On The Brake

Almost every modern vehicle on the road has anti-lock braking (ABS) to help you slow down on slick roads without locking the brakes. This allows you to brake and still steer. but many drivers are startled by the vibration in the pedal when the ABS kicks in. This is the system doing its job, so keep your foot firm on the brake and do not pump it.

Understand Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Like with ABS, most modern vehicles have electronic traction control that will help to stop the car from sliding in a turn. This system will turn on automatically if the car starts to skid or slide. But disregard what you may have heard years ago about steering into the skid; with DSC, you need to steer in the direction you wish to go, and the system handles everything else.

Speak To Our Detroit Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you were recently injured in a car accident, you should not take on the insurance or court system alone. Our Detroit car accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C. may obtain more compensation for your losses than you could. Contact our Detroit law office for a consultation today by calling (248) 948-9696.