Winter is here: Drive with extra caution on roads
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Snow has come to the Marquette region.
The National Weather Service in Negaunee Township reported some areas in Marquette Township received 6 inches Monday night into Tuesday morning. City of Marquette folks also woke up to having to brush snow off their windshields.
Weather had been starting to become more winter-like in recent days, with dropping temperatures and frost, but Tuesday morning marked the first significant snowfall of the season.
The NWS also said pockets of lake effect snow are expected to move east as winds move directions, and the snow will likely stick — perhaps literally — for a few days.
Although safe driving should be practiced all the time, snow makes it more challenging.
According to weather.com, 24 percent of weather-related car crashes take place in snow, slushy or icy conditions.
They don’t have to happen. Weather.com suggests drivers accelerate, brake and turn slowly since tires are barely gripping the ground in those conditions.
When you travel over a bridge, take particular care in slick conditions. There’s a reason warning signs are placed by them.
Nighttime driving in a squall requires special considerations too. If that means slowing down to the point that drivers behind you become impatient, let them stay impatient.
However, things should be kept in mind before you hit the road. Clear snow from the entire car — not just a 10-inch-wide hole on the driver’s side of the windshield. Passenger-side rear windows need to be cleared too since a driver probably will have to make a turn at some point, and oncoming traffic needs to be noticed.
A driver also should have more gas than is needed, and wiper fluid should contain de-icer.
Good winter maintenance includes having a wheel alignment and tire rotation as well as a clear undercarriage. Wiper blades should also be replaced since cold weather can make the rubber split and crack.
Of course, winter weather means more than driving safely and vehicle maintenance. Checking the furnace to determine if it’s working properly, installing heated cables to prevent ice dams and having a good shovel or snowblower ready are just several tips to be prepared for winter.
Being winter-ready also means being dressed properly with heavy coats, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and snow boots.
The snowy season requires a different way of thinking. Early November might be a little early, but, hey, it is the Upper Peninsula, and it’s time to bundle up and slow down on the roads.