When spring arrives, we often experience more rain and sun. This time of year also brings potholes from winter conditions and you’re more likely to encounter animals crossing the road.
As such, while you spent the past few months worrying about icy pavement and poor visibility, there are a new set of road hazards to be on the lookout for in springtime.
Based on figures from the Federal Highway Administration, rainy conditions cause nearly half of all weather-related crashes. While you’ll have to prepare for increased stop time and reduced traction, rain also forms large puddles on the roads.
Some puddles obscure potholes and driving through them at high speeds increase the risk of hydroplaning. Roads are most slippery when the storm begins, as rain mixes with existing oil and grease on the pavement.
Rain also brings flood risks and even a few inches of water can damage your car. On the other hand, a couple of feet creates enough force to wash away a large vehicle. As such, especially if you live in a coastal or other flood-prone area, pay attention to flood warnings when a heavy storm is predicted.
In certain parts of the country, hail is more likely to occur this time of year. A hailstorm could lead to small dents on the surface or result in a shattered windshield. If your area is more prone to hail, consider investing in a shelter or cover for your vehicle to reduce any potential damage, if you can’t park it in a garage.
Wear and Tear on the Roads
One of the biggest aspects affecting your car, the remnants of winter leave their mark in the form of potholes and rough pavement. Driving over one is a quick recipe for high-dollar repairs related to:
- Damaged suspension system
- Flat or punctured tires
- Dented rims
- The exhaust system
As a good rule of thumb, always look at the road ahead and give yourself enough reaction time, in case you encounter a pothole. Never swerve around one – you could end up hitting another car.
Many animals come out of hibernation in spring, becoming more active. As such, you’re more likely to encounter one roaming by the side of the road or attempting to cross. As a driver, be extra cautious around dawn and dusk, when animals are the most active. Slow down and scan the sides of the road.
Bicycles, Motorcycles & Pedestrians
Like animals, people become more active this time of year. For this reason, expect to see more people walking or running alongside the road, crossing at intersections and crosswalks, or riding a bicycle or motorcycle. To stay safe and reduce the chances of an accident:
- Watch out for bicycles whenever you parallel park.
- Slow down whenever you’re driving through a residential neighborhood.
- Know when pedestrians have the right of way and fully stop to let them cross.
- Look out for motorcycles, especially at intersections. Pay careful attention to your blind spots.
- When you’re sharing the road with bicycles and motorcycles, keep a greater distance to allow for extra stopping time.
Daylight saving time has begun and for many, that means darker morning commutes and going home in daylight. You’re more likely to encounter sun glare this time of year and, while it doesn’t receive the same amount of attention as rain and snow, it’s a significant cause of accidents.
To reduce your risk, keep your windshield clean. Dirt and other accumulation can scatter light, posing a challenge when you want to see ahead. Opt for a route with more shade or one that travels north to south, instead of east and west.
How to Prepare for Spring Driving
To anticipate many of the hazards listed above, keep the following tips in mind.
- Check your lights. You’ll need the extra visibility when you’re caught in a rainstorm.
- Make sure your wiper blades work and can do their job fully once the rain starts.
- Check for adequate tire pressure. Cold temperatures cause pressure loss, while warm conditions can cause over-inflation.
- Give your tires a once-over for tread depth. If they’re worn away, you risk hydroplaning and losing control.
As spring begins, consider performing some basic maintenance tasks. To make an appointment or address recent pothole damage, contact our Naugatuck shop today.