Spring Driving Tips
8 months ago
As we begin to approach more spring like weather, below are a few tips to remember while driving:
- We still can get some snowfall, which means the warm spring sun can melt ice and snow near the road. This melt water can freeze when the sun stops shining on it and the temperatures drop below zero. If you notice wet-looking roads and the temperatures have dropped below freezing, expect ice and slow down.
- As the weather warms it will bring out motorcyclists and cyclists. Every motorist has to practice good vision techniques and stay focused on their driving to spot these smaller road users. Looking out for and respecting these two-wheeled travelers is an important part of safe motoring.
- Warmer weather brings more children outside. Slow down and pay very careful attention in residential and school zones. School kids are easily distracted by play and don’t always notice traffic. Be alert for teenagers who tend to be fixated on their texting, socializing and cellphones and, as a result, won’t be paying much attention to traffic.
- This time of year is when we can get the wide fluctuations in temperatures and freeze-thaw cycles. This combination causes potholes to form. Stay well back of the vehicle in front and stay focused on your driving and you can give yourself more time to see these wheel-bending potholes. Staying farther back from the vehicle in front of you will also reduce your chances of being hit by kicked-up rocks. Keeping your vision high is critical to safe driving. Do not become fixated with looking downward at the road looking for potholes and debris. Use quick glances to look for dangers on the road surface.
- Heavy spring rains coupled with melt water can cause flooding. When encountering a flooded road never try to cross the flooded section as the roadway under the water could have been washed out. Instead, turn around and look for an alternate route.
- Spring wreaks havoc on gravel shoulders. They can be much softer than usual from all the melt water. Coupled with that winter erosion, gullies can form on the shoulders. Use extra care if you’re pulling off the road or if you drop a wheel off on to the shoulder. Smooth steering inputs will help you maintain control. Never jerk the steering wheel to rush your return to the pavement.
- Many animals hibernate through the winter and will now be on the move as they forage for food. Being prepared for this can help prevent animal deaths and damage to your vehicle. Slowdown in rural areas or where animal traffic is high. If you are not sure of your skill level, it is better to hit smaller animals than to risk your safety and that of others by taking evasive actions. Motorists have died or have been seriously injured trying to swerve to avoid animals.
- Driver distraction is a leading cause of traffic crashes. It is so important to remember to stay focused on the task of driving and let your passengers enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of spring in safety.