Michiganders should keep these items in their cars for safe winter travels

Tips from Michigan State Police

Photo of Angela Mulka
The snow, combined with gusting winds, is expected to cause low visibility and hazardous driving conditions, according to the Michigan State Police in a press release issued on Tuesday.

The snow, combined with gusting winds, is expected to cause low visibility and hazardous driving conditions, according to the Michigan State Police in a press release issued on Tuesday.

Christopher Kimmel/Getty Images/Aurora Open

As Michigan gets hit with one of the first significant snowstorms of the season, the Michigan State Police wants residents to keep in mind emergency preparedness tips for safe winter travels.

"Travel may be extremely dangerous over the next few days, so we are asking people to stay home, if possible," Col. Joe Gasper, state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and director of the Michigan State Police, said in a press release issued Tuesday. "Winter weather is not unexpected in Michigan, but preparing beforehand is the best way to keep you and your family safe."

Here's what to keep in your vehicle this winter according to MSP.

In the event you get stranded or stuck, you should keep an emergency preparedness kit in your car stocked with:

  • Batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • Windshield scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Shovel
  • Blankets
  • First aid kit (bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water

In addition to the items listed above, keeping a cell phone on hand is highly advised.

And to ensure your vehicle can withstand the upcoming winter months you should:

  • Have your radiator system serviced, replace windshield wipers and refill wiper fluid.
  • Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly.
  • Have your brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently.

"Michiganders should prepare for difficult and potentially dangerous conditions on both Wednesday and Thursday because of the incoming storm," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in the release. "Staying home will keep you safe and will help emergency crews focus on improving road conditions and assisting those who need it. Michiganders are no stranger to big storms, and I know we can get through the next few days together."

We've already covered how to weatherize your home this winter with tips from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which you can read here.

But here's more suggestions for preparing your home from MSP:

  • Weatherproof your home by installing weather stripping and caulking and insulating walls, doors and windows.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls, so pipes are less likely to freeze.
  • Lock in a propane rate now and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove or fireplace.
  • Have gas or oil furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter every two to four months.
  • Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact your local fire department for a referral or look for a local inspector online.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. CO poisoning is more common in the winter months when furnaces are turned on and portable generators are often used for electricity during power outages.
  • Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water to build up, leading to interior damage.
  • Clear storm drains along the curb to enable water to drain. If plugged, water has the potential to go into low-lying areas and flood basements.
  • Have an emergency preparedness kit stored safely in your house that includes water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, extra batteries, a battery or hand-crank powered radio, emergency lighting or flashlights, extra blankets and warm clothing.

In support of statewide winter preparedness efforts, Whitmer proclaimed Nov. 7-13 as Winter Hazards Awareness Week. For more tips, go to www.michigan.gov/miready.