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Have you been to Winter Driving School?

“The single biggest thing I can tell anybody is to slow down.”
~Instructor Mark Osborne

I-96 Westbound Closed by p912s (Scot)
I-96 Westbound Closed by p912s (Scot)

Wintertime driving can be challenging, and even deadly. It makes a lot  of sense for Michiganders to spend a some time and thought on staying safe behind the wheel in wintertime. The Keweenaw Research Center Winter Driving School at Michigan Tech offers drivers the tools to succeed. You don’t have to make the trip to Houghton to benefit from their knowledge, however.

Their handy Winter Driving guide details some of the proper vehicle maintenance that can help you to focus on driving, not mechanical problems, which can become a lot significant in the winter. Here’s a few solid tips – many more if you click the link!

  • Keep your gas tank as full as possible. This protects against the presence of water in the tank, which can cause the fuel in the fuel line to freeze. Avoid using alcohol-blended gasoline during extremely cold temperatures. The alcohol in the fuel attracts and retains moisture, which also can freeze in your fuel line.
  • In winter, being seen is just as important as seeing. The range of your car’s headlights, for example, can be reduced by one hundred feet if road grime is allowed to accumulate on the lens. Keep an old towel with your snow brush and use it to wipe the ice, snow, and mud off of the headlights, which will increase their brightness.
  • Try to remove ice and snow from your shoes before getting in your vehicle. As they melt, they create moisture and cause windows to fog on the inside. You can reduce fogging by turning the air recirculation switch to the OFF position. This brings in drier, fresh air. You can also run your air conditioner for a few minutes, which serves as a dehumidifier.
  • As the temperature drops, so does your battery’s starting power. You can maximize starting power by turning off all accessories, including the heater, radio, and lights, before you attempt to start the car.
  • Once your engine is running, you may start driving, but don’t accelerate too quickly during the first mile or two. Also, idling a cold vehicle’s engine for a long time to warm it up could harm the engine. The right way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it easily for a few miles.

Be sure out this detailed video on safe winter driving from the KRC: