The Dangers of Spring Driving
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
We all know that winter driving can be tricky, but spring driving involves many unique hazards. Whether you drive long distances or only short distances around your home, pay attention to the following:
- Light snow may still be falling, or snow on the ground is melting. This causes slushy driving conditions that can be almost as slippery as snow itself. Remove your snow tires only once your area is mostly free of snow. All-season tires work well on both dry and wet roads, but not on snow. Take the usual precautions on wet roads. For example, keep a following distance of at least five seconds and break and turn slowly.
- The roads freeze first in shady areas, so take care when driving under bridges and through mountain passes.
- Water pools in the outside lanes, so stay in the middle lanes where possible. It is also easier to drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you than to drive through large puddles.
- Your windshield wipers worked hard to remove the snow during winter, but you still need them to remove soft snow and rain during spring. If the blades are frayed or the washer fluid depleted, these will have to be replaced.
- Our roads gradually deteriorate because of snow ploughs, salt and sand, so look out for potholes in areas where snow is thawing. Slow down before you hit them, because breaking while you cross them might cause your vehicle to roll over, your tires to be damaged or your wheel alignment to be thrown out. The best strategy is to try to avoid potholes altogether.
- It is difficult to see pedestrians in wet foggy conditions, so drive slower when you see people standing by the side of the road, as you never know what they may do.
- Spring brings cyclists back on the roads, so exercise your usual precautions.
- Like humans, animals are much more active in spring than in winter. Look out for animals that cross the roads, especially around dawn and dusk when visibility is generally poorer. If you see one animal on or beside the road, assume that the rest of the herd is around too.
- Wash the underbody of your vehicle regularly to prevent the salt on the roads from causing rust and corrosion.
If you take good care of yourself and your vehicle through the spring, you will stay safer to enjoy the upcoming summer.