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Extreme cold and snow make trouble for Michigan motorists

Virginia Gordan

Michigan faces dangerously cold wind chill conditions this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Nancy Cain is a spokesperson for AAA Michigan. She says they've responded to 25,000 calls since the snow and cold began on New Year's Day.

Cain says motorists have called for help with spinouts, fender benders, crashes, "out of gas," and "can't starts."

She expects even more road problems in the next few days because people who had previously stayed home will be returning to work.

Cain says even when the snow has stopped, the combination of extreme cold and wind makes driving dangerous.

"It's so cold that the salt isn't working as well as it could. And you're going to be driving along and you're going to hit either a slippery spot or you're going to hit these little snow squalls. And the best thing to do is to slow down and anticipate the unexpected," she said.

She advises motorists to make sure their batteries work and to fill their gas tanks.  "If you turn your car on and the headlights dim or the engine kind of chugs, those are signs you might need to get your battery checked," she said. "And you certainly want to make sure in this record cold that you've got your gas tank at least half full to avoid that fuel line freeze-up."

Cain says it's important to check your windshield wipers and to keep extra windshield fluid in your vehicle.

She also says you should keep a survival kit in your car. The National Weather Service recommends that the kit  include a battery-powered radio, tire chains, booster cables, shovel, sand, flashlight, candles and matches, first-aid kit, extra clothing or blankets, and non-perishable high-calorie food.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom