Ever wanted to visit the Arctic Circle? Good news, now you can just stay in Michigan instead. Save on the travel expenses and just head outside because it’s cold. Very cold.

While the Narnia-esque landscape out your window may be inspiring you to go on some winter adventures like snow-shoeing through the glassy forest, or skiing on the powdery snow, it might not be as safe as you think. Michiganders are generally pretty proud of their winter driving skills, but we’re all human and sometimes that lands us in a ditch. To be a wise winter driver and adventurer, you need to do a little preparation.

Our first tip is to tell someone where you’re going, and when. If you don’t turn up where you should be, someone will have an idea of where to find you. Also, try to keep your gas tank as full as possible.

Always keep a kit in your vehicle in case of emergency. If you wind up in a ditch in subzero weather, you’re going to want your warmest coat, hat and gloves. Make sure to keep extras of these things with you, especially if you’re driving far. Keep devices charged, or bring a charger. You don’t want to be without communication if your car breaks down, careens off of the road, or runs out of gas (which happens faster in cold weather). Another good communication idea is a battery powered radio. If you’re in an area with poor service, emergency flares, reflectors, flash lights, and whistles can help you get someone’s attention.

Tools like a shovel, snow scraper, booster cables, and tow chains can come in handy when you’re stranded. Make sure to keep these in the cabin, in case the trunk is frozen shut. Road salt can be used to give your tires traction.

To keep yourself healthy and happy, pack some snacks and water bottles. Blankets or a sleeping bag will help keep you warm if the heat in your car doesn’t work.

Packing all of this might seem like overkill, but better safe than sorry.

If you end up in a ditch or wreck that causes damage to your car, Mannes can help. Click here to learn more about our services.

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