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Study: Michigan ranked most dangerous state for winter driving

Posted at 9:10 AM, Nov 20, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan is the most dangerous state for winter driving, according to a report from

The study looked at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2015 and 2017.

Michigan had the highest fatality rate when road conditions included snow, blowing snow, sleet, and freezing drizzle.

The three-year average had Michigan first at a total of 49 deaths.

Pennsylvania - 30
New York - 29
Ohio - 26
Colorado - 17
Indiana - 17
Minnesota - 17
Wisconsin - 17
Illinois - 15
Texas - 12

Source: NHTSA

Safety-first measures

Before the sleet, ice, and snow hit, there are things you can do to prepare your vehicle for changing conditions.

Get a checkup
The worst time for your car to break down is in freezing temperatures, so get your car serviced to check for leaks, worn hoses, or other maintenance items. Your brakes, defroster, heater, and lights should all be working correctly.

Need a recharge?
Battery power drops with the temperature. You want to make sure your battery has enough voltage, amperage, and reserve capacity to start on those cold mornings. If it's more than three years old, consider replacing it.

Stock up
Snowstorms can drain your windshield wiper fluid quickly. Top off your washer reservoir before the first snow hits and then keep refilling it throughout the season. This is also an excellent time to check if those wipers need a replacement.

Look down
Have you checked your floor mats in a while? Are they still in the right place and clean of debris? If not, it's time to clean up and re-secure. Improperly installed floor mats can get in your way and prevent you from hitting the gas or brake properly.

Fill up
If you're always pushing it to the last mile before filling up your gas tank, winter is the time to change habits. First of all, you don't want to be stranded in the cold. Second, you won't get as far on that last gallon of gas. According to the Department of Energy, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car's gas mileage is about 12 percent lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F.

Tread ready
You should check your tire tread regularly, but in slick conditions, it's critical. The minimum tread for any road conditions is 2/32nd of an inch. In winter driving, the more tread, the better. Tire pressure also changes with colder temperatures, so check your owner's manual to find the right pressure and add air if needed.

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