Spring is in the air. Motorists no longer have to worry about icy-slick roads and can even look forward to beautiful blooms, more sunshine, longer days, and shorter nights.
Getting around in spring, however, isn’t exactly a breeze. This season presents its unique challenges to motorists. Letting your guard down while driving on a seemingly clear road is the last thing you want to do.
Here are a few tips to help you drive safely during springtime:
Inspect Your Tires
Worn treads will result in a loss of traction, boosting your chances of sliding. Make sure that you have sufficient tire treads for wet-weather driving.
Also, make sure your tires are adequately inflated. A simple way to check is to perform a penny test. Place a penny into the groove of the tread. Your tire needs repairing if you can see Lincoln’s head.
Besides tire tread and pressure, check the alignment. Imbalanced tires cause the steering wheels to rock as you drive. Rather than risk your life driving with an imbalanced set of wheels, take your car to a service center. The technician will use an auto wheel balancing machine to fix the alignment.
Prepare for the Spring Rains
The hazards of rain are obvious. They make the roads slippery and dangerous for motorists. Drivers, therefore, should not ignore or brush spring rains aside during springtime. When you’re driving during a spring shower, slow down and increase your distance with other vehicles to allow for proper braking.
On top of slippery roads, rain can make roads less visible for motorists. The combination of foggy mornings and rainy days can greatly restrict your windshield vision. This increases your likelihood of getting into a road accident.
If you can’t see clearly, you and your car will likely be sitting on the side of the road until the visibility improves. This, unfortunately, can increase your travel time. If you need to get to your destination safely and on schedule, make sure that your headlights and windshield wipers are working properly. These two vehicle components will allow you to see other motorists and enable other drivers to see you coming.
Keep an Eye Out for Potholes
The extreme weather brought about by wintertime can take a toll on the roadways. This produces large and unsightly potholes. These monsters can destroy your vehicle, resulting in costly repairs. Damages can include the following:
- Damage to the exhaust system
- Punctured tires
- Suspension damage
- Bent rims
- Compromised alignment
As much as possible, go around the potholes you encounter on the road. If you are unable to avoid them, refrain from braking while traveling over them. You could avoid vehicle damage by slowing down, releasing the brake before impact, and going over the pothole carefully.
Steer Clear of Big Puddles
Whether you are facing flooding after sustained rains or a sudden gully washer, driving through water is a bad idea. Even if you’re cruising through a familiar street, the unexpected water could have done any of the following:
- Removed sections of asphalt
- Moved manhole covers
- Created new potholes
- Made existing potholes bigger
If you are approaching a flooded road, turn around and look for other safe routes. Never take the risk of driving through standing water, as this can cause you to hydroplane, cloud your vision or impair your brakes.
Stay Up to Date on Severe Weather
If you live in the South and Midwest, you’ll need to watch out for tornadoes. Springtime, unfortunately, is prime time for twisters. When you hear a tornado warning for the area where you’re driving (or worse, see a funnel cloud forming), you’re in a highly risky situation. If the twister is visible but far away, do your best to drive out of its destructive path by moving a right angle from its current location.
Watch Out for Four-Legged Travelers
People aren’t the only ones that love springtime. Some animals come out of hibernation. If you see a stray cat, ground squirrel, deer, or four-legged creatures near the road, reduce your speed and prepare to stop.
If the animal is already on the road, avoid the temptation to swerve. Instead, brake in a straight line.
Share the Road
Warm weather, along with an extra hour of sunlight thanks to daylight savings time, brings out motorcyclists and bicyclists. When you’re driving, always take a second look and maintain a safe distance from these road users. Remember that these people have the same right to be on the road.
Don’t get too comfortable when you’re hitting the road during springtime. Follow these seven tips to stay safe.