Winter Driving Tips For Detroit

February 1, 2015 5:59 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Metro Detroit is well known throughout the Midwest for its horrible traffic and poor driving conditions, and not just when the weather turns cold. But when winter does fall upon Motown, drivers should take extra caution when traveling to ensure their own safety and the safety of all those individuals on the roads. While the best advice is to not drive at all in bad conditions, sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here is a collection of tips, places and things to keep in mind that will help to ensure you have a safe and smooth driving experience here in the Motor City this season.

Prepare Your Car for Winter Weather 

One of the easiest ways you can avoid trouble on the roads this winter season is to make sure you’re properly prepared before you even leave your driveway. Simple key tasks include topping off your antifreeze, filling up your washer fluid, checking your tires for proper air pressure and tread and always making sure your wiper blades are clear of ice and in good condition. A good, dependable battery can also make all the difference in the world when you are out on those extremely cold days and your car needs that extra boost to get going. A little preparation now can save you not only time, but money in the long run.
Driving Tips for Bad Roads While the best advice is to stay off the roads in bad weather conditions, sometimes driving is inevitable. Being a defensive driver and keeping a keen eye on the road can be your safest bet for smooth driving. Here are some other driving tips to help keep you safe. Never underestimate how slippery a road can get. Even at temperatures of 40 degrees with strong winds, roads can develop ice. Beware of black ice. In poorly lit areas, under bridges and in low areas, ice on the roads can actually appear dry or only slightly wet, giving the illusion that it is safe when in reality it is quite the opposite. Being aware and cautious is the number one way to avoid black ice this winter. Increase your following distance. Giving yourself enough space allows you more reaction time if something goes wrong on the road ahead. Last but not least, slow down! This last tip cannot be emphasized enough. It’s also the easiest to do and it’ll help to keep you safe.Related: Arrive In One Piece: 10 Tips For Safe Winter Driving
Take A Winter Driving Course 

Motor City Driving Academy
13206 McNichols Road
Detroit, MI 48235
(313) 340-1250
If you are a new driver, new to Michigan or new to winter driving in general, perhaps a detailed driving course available through the Motor City Driving Academy could be the best option to prepare you for a rough Michigan winter. With its high-quality and exceptional service, the academy will have you ready to navigate the snowy streets of Southeast Michigan in no time. Ask about the holiday special in which instructors offer segment one of the driver’s education course for only $215.
Michigan Tech Keweenaw Winter Driving School 
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 487-2750
www.mtukrc.orgIf you live in a more rural area of Metro Detroit, or if you believe what the experts say to be true and expect some pretty bad snow and ice this season, perhaps learning from the best in the state when it comes to winter driving is just what you need to be ready. At Michigan Tech University, you can sign up for a rigorous one-day, fully-loaded course that will instruct from the most simple of cold-weather basics to handling some of the most dangerous weather-related driving imaginable. Class sizes remain small to maximize the amount of one-on-one time between the instructor and student and much of the training is done on a state-of-the-art private test course. The one-day winter driving course is $150 per person. A request form is available on the website if you would like more information.Related: Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Ann Arbor
Beware the Most Dangerous Stretch of Freeway in Detroit Long known as one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the Midwest, Northbound 1-75 between John R and 9 Mile Road in Hazel Park, just outside the city limits of Detroit, is home to many accidents each year. The site is the location of one of Detroit’s most well-known vehicle-accident disasters in area history. In July of 2009, a motorist lost control of his car along the stretch and slammed into a gas tanker, igniting a fireball that could be seen for miles throughout the city. The ensuing explosion and fire single handedly destroyed the 9 Mile bridge and melted much of the area, rendering the freeway inoperable for months. The Detroit Free Press confirmed that the small expanse of freeway, where the speed limit drops from 70 MPH to 50 MPH, was home to more accidents than any other of the seven-county region from 2007 to 2009. The area has since been rebuilt, but experts agree that the easiest way to increase your safety and avoid another tragedy is to SLOW DOWN!
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at