In Michigan, there are several terrible car accidents caused by weather conditions each year.
Often, these accidents end in injury or even death.
This is why, when you face certain Michigan road conditions, it’s important to know how to go through it safely.
And this is why, today, we’re going to give you safe driving tips through common Michigan road conditions.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
How to Drive Safely in Michigan Road Conditions
We’ll be looking at:
- How to drive safely in rain and fog
- How to drive safely in ice and snow
- How to drive safely at night
- How to drive safely with deer
Let’s get into the details.
How to Drive Safely in Rain and Fog
Know that the road is most slippery during the first sign of drizzle, rain, or snow.
This is because oil deposited from vehicles has not yet been washed away. So when it starts to rain, make sure you slow down.
Remember, slippery roads will reduce traction and can result in hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning or loss of control is a common issue when driving in rainy or wet road conditions.
Now, to prevent hydroplaning, don’t drive too fast, make sure your tire pressure is good, and make sure the tires are not warm before driving.
Another problem with driving in heavy rain is wet brakes.
When the wet season arrives, it’s always a good idea to check your brakes first. You don’t want to run into any problems with it when you’re already behind the wheel.
Here’s another safety tip.
If the road is flooded and is blocked by safety barricades, do NOT drive around them as it is unsafe for vehicles.
Also, if the road is flooded and you don’t see any safety barricades, it’s better to find an alternate route. Otherwise, drive with caution as deep water can damage the vehicle’s engine.
As for driving in fog, always drive slowly and turn on your low-beam headlights.
If the fog is too thick, pull off the road and turn on emergency flashes. Wait for the fog to lift before driving again.
How to Drive Safely in Ice and Snow
The first thing to remember when driving in snow and ice is to slow down and drive with caution. Always look out for crosswalks or trail signs. Plus, you should always be prepared to stop.
And of course, even before driving, test your brakes and power steering.
Another tip is to ensure that antifreeze is strong and fresh enough to prevent freezing of the engine. You can also change the windshield washer fluid with an antifreeze agent.
It is common to experience skidding when you drive through ice and snow. So to prevent that, avoid slamming into your brakes, going at high speeds, and sudden steering.
Sometimes, however, you can’t avoid skidding.
What should you do then?
Here’s what you can do:
- Remove your feet from the accelerator
- Slightly turn the front wheels and point them in the direction you want to go
- Be prepared for another skid in the opposite direction
- Turn the wheels in the direction you want to go again and straighten the wheels to get your vehicle under control
Another danger of driving in snow and ice is the unpredictable nature that can happen to a vehicle.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (MIOHSP) recommends drivers leave at least 600 feet of space to brake. This is because it takes up to 10 times longer to stop a vehicle when driving on ice compared to driving on dry pavement.
How to Drive Safely at Night
Driving at night can be dangerous as visibility is reduced.
Whether it’s the glare from flashing lights or the pitch-black surroundings, driving at night can cause problems for all drivers.
So, what can you do to drive safely at night?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Headlights should be turned on the half-hour after sunset and before sunrise to see other vehicles and pedestrians clearly within 500 feet.
- When it’s raining, foggy, or snowing during the night, always use low beams.
- Using only parking lights is illegal when headlights are required.
- Stop at a clear distance. You should drive within the range of your headlights when it’s dark.
- Using flash high-beam headlights is illegal.
- Dim your interior lights so they won’t glare too much.
- Never use high beams when you’re behind other vehicles as the bright lights on their rearview mirrors can be distracting.
- Clean your headlights and make sure that it’s unobstructed.
About 37% of fatal crashes during the night are related to speeding. If you go too fast with reduced visibility, you might have to suddenly brake when something gets in the way. To avoid these types of crashes, it’s always best to SLOW DOWN, especially in particularly dark areas.
Most importantly, you should get lots of rest to prevent dozing off behind the wheel. Data suggests that drowsy driving has estimated more than 100,000 crashes resulting in 50,000 injuries and 1,600 deaths each year. Never drive when you’re sleepy.
How to Drive Safely with Deer
Sure, this does not have anything to do with the weather.
However, each year, there are about 60,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. Vehicle-deer crashes cost an estimated $130 million in damages annually.
This is why it’s important to know how to drive safely when there is a deer crossing.
Here are ways to prevent vehicle-deer crashes:
- Stay alert, awake, and sober, especially at dusk and dawn when deers are active.
- Watch out for deer crossing signs.
- Always wear your seatbelt in case something happens.
- Slow down when you see a deer. Most likely, other deers are nearby since they travel in groups
- Honking your horn or flashing high-beam headlights won’t deter deer.
If unavoidable, brake firmly and hold on to your steering wheels. Stop and steer away from the roadway.
In case you hit a deer, you need to report it to the county sheriff’s office, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, or Michigan State Police.
The weather is a big factor when it comes to car accidents.
This is why it’s important to know how to drive safely through different weather conditions.
On top of that, it’s also important to know how to drive when deer are crossing.
These are all very common in Michigan.
But with this guide, you can now drive safely in the different Michigan road conditions.
Keep safe always!