Preparing your car for winter driving

Now that the Upper Peninsula has had a taste of winter, it is a good time to make sure vehicles are ready for what is ahead.

Getting your car ready for winter is vital, and there is no time like the present.

Simple things like making sure wiper blades, battery, and tires are in shape for winter can make a world of difference.

“Up in the U.P. area here, we have a lot of SUV’s vehicles and with that, a lot of folks don’t use that system in the summertime and coming into the cold season you really want to make sure it will shift in and out smoothly,” Jim Leist from Whistler’s Garage in Marquette said.  “It engages and disengages because you don’t want to find out on that first snowfall that your four–wheel–drive doesn’t work.”

“(It’s important) To make sure your cooling system is inspected and that it is rated for wintertime,” Leist said.  “Too much water in the cooling system can create some serious problems and destroy an engine.”

When driving in snowy conditions, keep your headlights on, slow down, and give yourself extra time to get where you need to go.

Most importantly, beware of freezing temperatures.  Freezing temperatures cause black ice, which is extremely dangerous.

“It does take ten times longer to stop your vehicle when the road is slippery and slushy,” Michigan State Police Trooper Stacey Rasanen said.  “Some of the things you can carry in your vehicle are kitty litter, sand…that’s for traction in case you do slide off the road.”

Other items to keep handy in your car are: flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, shovel, cell phone and car charger, blanket, water, and food, like nutrition bars or nuts.