Winter Hazards Awareness Week: Car Safety - WNEM TV 5

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Winter Hazards Awareness Week: Car Safety

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Winter inevitably brings the frustrating process of shoveling and plowing Michigan. If the cold weren't enough to handle at times, winter storms can make travel extremely dangerous, if not impossible. Being prepared for the hazards waiting around the bend can make all the difference when the storms of winter make their arrival.

The list of road dangers winter has hidden up its sleeve is a long one, but one that we Michigan residents are also very familiar with. Snow and blowing snow can quickly reduce visibility down to nearly nothing. Traction can suffer as snow or ice settles onto the road surface, and black ice can lurk silently on a road that otherwise looks safe. Shorter days also mean we are more likely to be traveling under the cover of night, in addition to all of the other factors.

Winter is a time of year where giving yourself even a few extra minutes of driving time goes a long way, even on a day where conditions seem fair and quiet. Combining that with a well-stocked emergency kit and an emergency plan should keep you safe and ready for winter's temper tantrums.

When it comes to your car, you want to have an emergency kit that is as thorough as one you would keep at home. Getting your vehicle prepped for winter in many cases involves snow tires, which go a long way toward helping your wheels keep a grip on the road. They are only one piece of an important puzzle however, as they are not completely foolproof.

Important accessories to have in your car or truck through the winter season includes items like:

Jumper cables - in the event your car battery dies

Snow shovel - being able to remove even a little bit of snow can give you enough room to gain momentum and free your vehicle

Tow rope - even if you are stuck, this can help someone pull your vehicle free

Sand or cat litter - provides additional traction

Flashlight & spare batteries - can help you see/be spotted in the event you are stranded at night

Blanket - added measure to keep you warm if you become stranded and have to wait for help

If you happen to become stranded on the roads, especially during a winter storm, one of the best things you can do is remain with your vehicle. Attempting to walk somewhere for assistance can not only put you in danger from the elements, but could leave you vulnerable to other motorists who could also lose control on the roads.

Keeping your vehicle's gas tank at least half full at all times can also help to keep it running, and prevent ice from building up in the fuel lines.

Count on WNEM and the First Warn 5 Weather Team to keep you updated all season on winter's every twist and turn.

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