AAA Michigan issues winter weather warning, urges drivers to stay off roads

Posted at 5:14 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 17:14:00-05

AAA is sending out a statewide winter weather warning ahead of Friday's winter storm that predicts 6-9 inches of snow across metro Detroit.

As road conditions are expected to be challenging, AAA recommends that drivers stay off the road if possible. 

According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, each year nearly one in four of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement.

AAA urges motorists to drive with additional caution, and offers the following tips for winter driving:

  1. Before starting out, remove ice and snow from the entire car, mirrors and lights  so you have clear driving visibility.
  2. Always drive at a speed that matches the prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions – even if that means driving below the posted speed limit.
  3. Compensate for reduced traction by increasing your following distances (normally three to four seconds) to eight to ten seconds.
  4. Don't use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.
  5. Remember that four-wheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won't help you stop any faster.
  6. Familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s braking system.  Drivers with anti-lock brakes should apply firm, constant pressure while those without may need to pump the pedal in order to avoid loss of traction while stopping.
  7. Allow sufficient room for maintenance vehicles and plows, stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back and, if you need to pass, go to the other vehicle’s left.
  8. Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
  9. If you get stuck in snow or ice, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Add sand or cat litter under the drive wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.
  10. If your tires lose traction, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.