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Spring Driving Hazards

March 20th, 2014

Spring Driving HazardsSpring Driving Unknown Hazards

It’s that time of year again! Flowers bloom, days become longer, and the weather is warmer. Birds, nature, and warmth come to everyone’s mind around this time of year. Although, most people do not see what spring also brings.

With the luxuries of spring comes hazardous road conditions that every driver should be aware of. Find out what to look out for, and use these spring driving tips to help you become a more aware and safe driver.

What to Avoid and Tips on How to Avoid Them

 

Fog:

Fog is one of the most dangerous hazards to accompany spring. Spring brings warmer weather on a cold area. This creates dangerous areas with little to no visibility. Remember fog occurs most often in the morning or evening. Below are some tips to help you drive through fog:

  • Use your wipers and defroster for better visibility.
  • Use your fog lights. If you do not have fog lights, make sure to use your low beam headlights. High beam lights will only be reflected back off the fog back to your eyes, creating less visibility. As fog becomes less dense, high beams will become more effective. Although, low beams are more advisable.
  • Watch out for other vehicles. Other vehicles may be going slower than you to avoid any hazards. Therefore, allow more distance between vehicles.
  • Use the right edge of the road or painted road markers as a guide for driving.
  • Roll down your window a little when visibility becomes minimal. This helps you hear if a vehicle in front of you stopped abruptly. Fog limits your reaction time, so make sure to pay close attention to other drivers.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull over when you can’t see at all. Make sure to turn on your hazard lights. Do not keep your headlights or brake lights on. Drivers tend to follow these lights when driving in fog.

Rain and Flood Habits:

According to U.S. DOT Research at Cambridge, 24% of all crashes are weather related. Each year, over 673,000 people are injured and nearly 7,400 people are killed in these crashes.  Spring is the highlight of year for rain and floods. Wet Pavement reduces vehicle traction, maneuverability, and visibility distance. Here are some tips to help better you as a driver in the rain:

  • DO NOT use cruise control. If you start to hydroplane, this slows down your car. Cruise control automatically knows to speed up (as if you’re going up a hill). This acceleration can lead to devastating results.
  • Keep from being distracted. This means keeping both hands on the wheels at all times. Turn off the radio and keep the cell phones away. You want to be fully aware of all your surroundings when driving in rain.
  • Please turn on your headlights. Not only is this a law in most states, it also helps visibility and prevents accidents.
  • Turn on your defroster and wipers. This will help you see clearly through the rain.
  • Try not to brake as often. If you do need to brake, make sure to brake earlier than usual, and brake with less force. This increases the stopping distance as well as lets the person behind you know ahead of time that you’re stopping.
  • DO NOT drive through running water or flooded roads. There’s no way to determine how deep the water is. If the water level happens to get above your tires, this can cause the engine to stall or your car may float away.
  • Avoid puddles of any kind. Although they may seem harmless, these puddles may contain potholes or deep water that can damage your car. 

Animal Season:

Just like you, animals want to get out as soon as the weather warms up. Animals are more active during the spring. This could mean more animals, especially white-tail deer, are crossing streets and roaming the roads. Here are some tips to help with the animal season:

  • Most animals are active at dawn or dusk, so be more aware during these periods of time.
  • Watch for the warning signs. In many parts of forested areas, signs are put up to recognize that there are deer or moose in the area.
  • Observe your surroundings by actively scanning both sides for any signs of wildlife. 
  • DO NOT honk your horn. Blasting noises or lights are more likely to terrify the animal to dart in random places. Bucks have been known to charge at a stopped or moving vehicle when loud noises or lights get in its way. Although if the deer or moose is far away with no surrounding vehicles, you can honk your horn in short burst. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that it will make the deer run off the road.
  • DO NOT swerve your car. Brake firmly and do not leave your lane.

Worn out Roads:

In the winter, salt is put down to melt the ice. Although this is handy, this also deteriorates the pavement. Over time along with more traffic, these deteriorations become potholes. Here are some tips to driving in worn roads:

  • Keep your speed down. This can reduce the hit from any pothole.
  • Inspect your tires regularly for any sort of damage.  After you run over a pothole, don’t be afraid to pull over to check your tires.
  • Be cautious to avoid puddles as these may carry a pothole.
  • Swerve around potholes if possible. Make sure to watch out for other motorists before you avoid any pothole.

Spring allows us to get out of our hibernation and to enjoy the fun in the sun. Just remember the next time you get out of the house to look out for these spring driving hazards! 

  Posted in: Tires 101, Auto Repair 101