One of the dangers of being a resident of Michigan is having to deal with the brutal winters. Just how bad are the winters here, Michigan was recently ranked as the second most miserable state in the U.S. for its winter. One of the tragic results of living in a place that has such cruel winters is the horrific and even deadly outcomes of accidents out on our roads.

From 2011 to 2015 there were nearly 4,000 Americans who were killed while driving on the ice and snow during the winter months. Michigan once again came in second, this time for the highest amount of winter driving deaths, just behind Ohio.

Snow and ice make reaction times slower and it makes your vehicle react differently than it would under pristine conditions. Here are some useful tips you can use to keep yourself safe as you head out driving this winter.

Check your battery – It is easy for your battery to die out in the extreme cold. To combat this, you should not only check on the health of your battery but make sure you have jumper cables in your car. You may even want to get a portable jump starter which may be more convenient.

How are your tires? – If you need new tires, getting them before the real harsh winter comes may be wise. You should also routinely check the air pressure of each tire. Winter has a way of draining air pressure from your tires and can make driving and maneuvering more difficult.

Keep your windows clear – Snow and ice buildup on your car can be aggravating to remove but neglecting to do an adequate job of removing ice and snow can cause real danger. You should have a strong ice scraper and even a brush to remove all the ice and snow from each window of your vehicle.

Roadside safety kit – One of the most dangerous places to be is sitting on the side of an icy road. Cars and trucks striking stranded vehicles are common. A safety kit not only may have the supplies you need to get your car moving again, but if you are unable to get the car going, the kit can be helpful if you need to set off on foot.

Do not drive fast or aggressive – One of the easiest ways to stay safe during winter driving is to drive responsibly based on the conditions you are in. Overconfidence with your vehicle is one of the main causes of crashes during winter driving.

Unfortunately, we live in a part of the country where dangerous driving due to the winter elements cause many accidents that result in major injuries and deaths. By taking simple precautions, you can make your winter driving much safer for you and your fellow drivers.