Most people think of winter as being the most dangerous driving season. While snow, ice and sleet definitely present their challenges, spring can also offer some hazardous road conditions. Being aware of the possible hazards that may present themselves and taking some precautions can mean the difference between staying safe on the road and experiencing an accident or other negative incident on the road. Here are some tips.
Prepare Your Vehicle
–Brakes are important any time of year, but they can be especially crucial in driving conditions that can include large puddles, heavy rains and sight-limiting glare. If you hear any squeaking in your brakes or feel they are slipping in any way, make sure to take your vehicle in ASAP to have them looked at.
–Tires are also extremely important for spring driving. If your tires’ tread are wearing down or you find you have to put air in any of them on a regular basis, it’s probably time for new ones. Low tread can seriously impact your ability to stop and, if you’re really unlucky, can lead to a dangerous blowout.
–An oil change and general tune-up, if you haven’t had one for a while, is also a good idea. Everyone is afraid of getting stranded by the side of the road in the frigid winter months and pay special attention to these things, but it’s no fun getting stranded in the spring, either!
–Windshield wipers are an often-overlooked part of your car until it’s too late. You don’t want the first sign of broken or worn out windshield wipers to show up during a rain storm! It’s easy to check them out right now: squirt some cleaner on your windshield, crank up the wipers and see what happens! If you see streaks, there are places that are untouched or they are otherwise under-performing, get them replaced.
Prepare Your Driving Skills
–Wet weather means more chances for accidents. Even if you’re a good, safe driver, there are still plenty of others out there who may not be paying attention, in a hurry or just plan unsafe. When conditions are wet, drive slower, keep more space between you and the vehicle in front of you and make sure your attention is 100% on the road.
–There may be puddles everywhere—especially after a heavy rain. If you can, avoid hitting them as they can impair your brakes, cloud your vision or cause you hydroplane. If it’s not unsafe, go around them. If you do find yourself hydroplaning on a small body of water, gently ease your foot off the accelerator and avoid braking.
–With the warmer weather, you’ll see a lot more motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and more out on the roads. Many of them may be distracted by phones, headphones and just being out and enjoying the nice weather, so it’s your responsibility to watch out for them so you don’t cause an auto collision. Always be aware what is around you and be prepared for a bicycle to wander into traffic or for a motorcyclist to be in your blind spot.
–Avoid potholes when possible. Potholes are not only annoying, but they can also hurt your tires or throw your car’s front end out of alignment. If you can’t avoid a pothole safely, at least slow down to minimize the damage it may cause to your car.
Spring weather can be very unpredictable. You could be looking at a sunny, perfect 75 degree one day and be facing a blizzard the next. Always be aware of the driving conditions and other motorists and keep the above tips in mind to make sure you stay safe on the road this springtime!