Spring is here! While many people breathe a sigh of relief knowing winter weather won’t rear its head for another year, spring weather can also pose a threat to motorists. Even as ice and snow melts away, don’t let your guard down.
Here are some tips to keep you and your passengers safe on the roads this spring.
- Drive in the Middle Lanes When It Rains
Did you know that roads are most slippery when it first begins to rain? This is caused by rainwater mixing with contaminants on the road, such as oil and grease. A wet road can be just as slick and dangerous as an icy one, and you can easily hydroplane, losing contact with the road – similar to hitting ice. As water tends to puddle in the outside lanes, it’s best to drive in the center lane if possible during and after a rainstorm.
- Slow Down and Increase Your Following Distance
Another tip for those springtime showers is to adhere to the speed limit and slow down slightly, going with the flow of traffic. You should also increase the distance between you and the vehicle you’re following to allow for proper braking. Three seconds is the standard safe distance, but during rainy weather, you’ll want to increase this to eight seconds. Choose a fixed point (like a road sign or a building) that is even with the car in front of you. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three (eight seconds during or after a rainstorm), you’re driving too close.
- Look Out for Potholes!
Extreme winter weather takes a toll on our roadways, creating large potholes when the ground thaws out in spring. The spring rain can then fill these pesky divots with water, making them difficult to see. Avoid them if you can, but never swerve to avoid a pothole. It’s better to just slow down before rolling over a pothole compared to braking harshly or swerving. Potholes are one of the most common culprits for punctured tires, bent rims, suspension damage, and more.
- Inspect Your Tires for Tread & Proper Air Pressure
Adequate tire tread is important for wet weather driving, with the tire tread moving the water away from the tires. The less tread, the less traction to drive safe in rainy springtime weather. Additionally, tires lose air due to the cold temperatures of the winter months, causing tires to be underinflated.
- Watch for Pedestrians on the Move
With warmer weather quickly approaching, more people are heading outdoors for walking, jogging, bicycling, and other activities. Be even more mindful of pedestrians and slow down, especially in neighborhoods and residential areas where children may also be at play. Furthermore, pay extra attention at crosswalks where pedestrians have the right of way with the walk signal.
- Watch for Animal Activity
For some animals, springtime means mating season, while others are waking up from a long, restful winter’s nap. Deer, for example, are most active at dusk and dawn. If you approach an animal in the road, gradually hit the brakes, but do not swerve, as this could send your vehicle off the road or into another vehicle.
- Share the Road with Motorcycles
The comfortable spring temperatures will also be inviting for motorcyclists to hit the open road. Because of their speed and size, motorcycles may quickly come in and out of your vehicle’s blind spots. With more of them on the road, double-check your blind spots before changing lanes. Maintain a safe following distance of AT LEAST four seconds for motorcycles.
- Slow Down for Construction Zones
In states with colder winters, it’s not uncommon to see road work pick up when warmer conditions return. When driving through construction zones, it’s important to be extra cautious by following these helpful tips.
- Focus on the road and only the road. This is, of course, recommended for driving under any circumstances, but navigating construction zones can be confusing, so pay EXTRA attention to the road signs and your surroundings.
- Be attentive to changes in frequent traffic patterns to accommodate the progress of the work being done.
- Make safe lane changes. Solid lines in construction zones mean that you should stay in your lane.
- Slow down as fines may be doubled in construction zones. Construction workers are often present, putting their lives at risk on busy interstates and highways where more vehicles are traveling at higher speeds. Please keep them and their safety front in mind when you drive through work zones.
No matter the time of year, safe driving should always be your top priority, but we do hope you take note of these eight springtime safe driving tips.
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident due to someone else’s negligence, you can count on the Fulmer Sill team. As personal injury attorneys, we have vast experience in automobile accidents and will seek justice on your behalf. All initial consultations are free, and we don’t charge any up-front fees for representation. We handle all fees on a contingency basis, meaning that unless we’re successful, you don’t have to pay us. Contact us today at (405) 510-0077 to get started.