Spring will arrive this year tomorrow morning, March 20 at 5:37 AM. That means longer days and warmer weather. Spring also means no more snow- and ice-covered roads. Since we don’t have to worry about sliding on slick roads or getting stuck in snowstorms, most drivers assume that better weather makes for safer driving conditions.
Spring brings a number of new hazards to the road that drivers need to pay attention to. Here’s how to prepare for the road this spring:
Watch for ice
While spring feels warm and wonderful, it’s not a guarantee that all of the ice is gone. Keep your winter wits about you and drive as if the roads are icy: maintain a safe distance, approach intersections cautiously and drive slowly when the roads appear wet.
Look for leftover sand and salt
Many towns use sand and salt to combat icy roads — which is great in winter weather. But once the snow is gone, sand and salt often remain, making traction difficult. Take care at intersections and give yourself a little extra braking time.
Master driving in rain
Spring showers are a sign of renewal, but they can also create tricky driving conditions. Safe driving in a rainstorm means turning your headlights on, driving slowly and giving other vehicles more space. Remember, even just a little rain combined with oil on the road can create slippery conditions.
Steer clear of hail
Driving in a hailstorm is dangerous because you’re not only managing rain and wet roads, now ice is coming at you. To avoid hail damage, it’s best not to drive. If you’re already on the road, pull over and seek shelter to wait out the hail.
Avoid flooded roads
Frozen ground, melting snow and heavy rains are just the right recipe for flooding. If you’re approaching a flooded road, turn around and find a safe route. Standing water is particularly dangerous because there can be strong undercurrents and it’s difficult to tell if you’re looking at just a puddle or deeper water.
Prepare for potholes
Pair salt, sand and heavy snow plows with alternating cold and warm weather and you’ve got the perfect conditions for potholes. The best way to handle potholes is to avoid them. But that’s not always an option. If you see a pothole ahead and can’t avoid it, the safest approach is to slow down and, right before you drive over the pothole, release your brakes. This reduces the speed of impact and gives your suspension a chance to minimize the effects.
Stay off shoulders
Winter erosion followed by spring rains and flooding can soften gravel shoulders and wash away the ground underneath. Your best bet is to avoid driving and parking on gravel shoulders.
Look for pedestrians and bikers
After a long winter, everyone is ready to enjoy the weather. This means increased motorcycles, bicycles and foot traffic on roads and shoulders. Keep your eyes open for others and be particularly cautious in areas with children.
Watch for four-legged travelers
It’s not just people that love the change of season. Many animals are coming out of hibernation. If you see an animal on or near the road, slow down and prepare to stop. If it’s already in the road, resist the urge to swerve. It’s safest to brake in a straight line. Be on high alert at dusk and in rural areas where critters tend to be most active.
Being alert on the road isn’t the only way to tackle springtime driving hazards. Preparing for spring also means prepping your car for the new season. If both you and your vehicle are prepared for whatever the weather throws at you, you’ll be better able to stay safe out on the road.
Contact a Knowledgeable Attorney Today
While these tips may be helpful, there are still drivers on the road who will not follow proper safety protocol while operating a vehicle. If you, or someone you love, was involved in a car accident, it may be in your best interest to pursue legal action. The attorneys at Azrael Franz have extensive experience dealing with drunk, reckless, or negligent drivers who put their safety, and the safety of others on the road, at risk. Our experience includes a recent $3.5 million car crash settlement. Our compassionate and relentless attorneys will assist you in understanding your rights, filing your claim, and pursuing legal action against a reckless driver. We are here to help.