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First Snow Of Season Brings Driving Hazards & Possible School Closings

first snow of winter 2011
stu allen photo
The weather forecast is calling for up to 4 inches of wet, slippery snow overnight, with wind gusts up to 30 mph moving it around. While 4 inches of snow isn’t really a big deal to most Michigan natives, the first snow of the season always brings it’s fair share of problems to those who are unprepared. If there are schools closed, you can find details on our web page. A few tips to make you ready to deal with winter driving are up after the jump.
1. Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. It’s slippery and there may be delays due to accidents, downed trees, power lines, etc. You’ll need to drive a bit slower to be safe in these conditions. That’s going to take longer. Plan for it.
2. Clean off your vehicle. Clean the windows, headlights, turn signals. All of them! They help you to see and be seen. Might just save your life.
3. If you drive a truck or other vehicle with rear-wheel drive, you’ll need some extra weight in the back for winter conditions. I usually keep a few tubes of sand in the back of mine. It’s 240 pounds of dead weight, and if I get stuck somewhere the sand might help me get out. I also have been known to shovel snow into my pickup bed for extra traction. It’s free and easy to find.
4. Keep warm clothing in your vehicle. If you get stuck or break down somewhere, help might not be coming right away. If you have to hoof it, make sure you’re dressed for it.
5. Call somebody to let them know where you are if you break down. If it happens in a place where you might not be able to remove your vehicle from the road, call 911.

A month from now we’ll all be winter driving veterans again. The first snowstorm is always an adventure. And good business if you own a bump and paint shop or a snowplow! Be careful, be safe and remember to slow down a bit when the weather turns nasty.

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