DETROIT (WWJ) - Although we haven’t had much winter weather in Metro Detroit, the worst is yet to come. And no matter how many years of driving experience you have under your belt, winter weather never fails to present a wide variety of challenges.
Understanding how to drive safely in harsh weather conditions can protect you, your passengers and your vehicle.
AARP offers the following tips for staying safe on winter roads:
1. Winterize your vehicle to make sure your brakes, wipers, defroster, headlights and heater are all working properly.
2. Stop gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
3. Turn on your headlights to increase your visibility to other motorists, and keep your lights clean and free of ice or debris.
4. In unfavorable driving conditions, reduce your speed and increase the distance between your car and the one in front of you. Remember that it takes more time to stop on icy roads.
5. Stay alert. Look ahead to give yourself more time to react safely to situations without suddenly braking or skidding.
6. Before driving, clear all snow and ice from your vehicle’s hood, windows and roof.
7. Use snow or all-season tires or chains for better traction and smoother slowing. Remember that even with snow tires, you should use extra caution while driving in inclement weather — no tires allow you to drive on snow or ice at normal speeds.
8. Take extra precautions on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas, which can freeze first, and remain icy longer than roadways. A road on which ice and snow are completely frozen is pretty slippery, even though it provides more traction than a road with melting ice.
9. In wet driving conditions, do not drive faster than the windshield wipers can clear water from the windshield. Make sure your wiper blades are in good shape, and replace them yearly.
10. Equip your car with emergency supplies, such as blankets, food, water, spare fuses, a flashlight with batteries, an ice scraper, flares and a first-aid kit.
For more safety tips to keep you and your passengers safe all year round, visit www.aarp.org/driversafety.