AAA: Winter weather tips for your vehicle

With the winter weather cold and snow across the state, AAA Michigan advises motorists to take special precautions before driving.

Motorists can help keep their vehicles on the road by doing the following:

  • Check your vehicle’s battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power.
  • Park your vehicle in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.
  • Be sure your vehicle has a winter survival kit, including ice scraper and brush, snow shovel, tire traction material such as sand or cat litter, food and blanket, jumper cables, cell phone and cell phone charger, flares or reflective triangle, flashlight, boots, gloves and hats.

Before driving, follow these tips:

  • Clear snow and ice from vehicle, including hood, roof, trunk, front and back windshields, headlights and tail lights.
  • Go slow — slow down when visibility and road conditions are impaired.
  • Anticipate danger — be ready for ice on bridges, hidden lane markings, stalled cars and poor visibiity. Increase following distance between vehicles.
  • Put the lid on skids — ease off the accelator and don’t lock up the brakes. Carefully steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go and straighten the wheel as soon as the car begins to go in the desired direction.
  • Monitor weather reports. If you must travel and become stranded, stay with your vehicle. It provides shelter from the cold and makes it easer for rescuers to locate you. Make sure your exhaust pipe is snow free.
  • If your vehicle becomes disabled, never step into the line of traffic.
  • In the first days of January, AAA Michigan has assisted more than 12,500 motorists, with spin outs, vehicles in ditches and dead batteries among the winter-related issues.