Ah, blissful springtime. Is there anything more refreshing than birds chirping, air temperatures rising, and coming out of long winter hibernation? Neighbors start talking with one another again, kids are playing outside, and cyclists pedal among the newly sprung flowers. However, for as much loveliness as this time of year offers, it is also an obstacle course for what winter left behind and because there is more activity on the road.
Even though winter may seem like the larger monster when it comes to driving, every season comes with its own set of challenges. That’s why it’s important to make sure you are duly prepared. Now is a great time to explore cheap auto insurance to be certain you are well-equipped for the driving hazards that spring presents.
Be Aware of Animal Activity: Just like people, many animals are waking up after a long, cold winter and are eager to move, find food, and look for mates. Be watchful for animals darting across the road. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn.
Motorcycles Make a Comeback: For riders, the call of spring means dusting off the bike and taking it for a spin. There’s good reason why motorcyclists are 26 more likely to die in a vehicle accident than their passenger car counterparts. Always look twice when making a turn onto a road and give the bikers a lot of space to maneuver when you’re driving behind them.
Look Out for Potholes: Ice, rain, salt, and fluctuating temperatures all take a toll on our roads. One small crack in the fall turns into a gigantic hole by springtime. Potholes can fill with rainwater and be nearly invisible, so stay far enough back from the car in front of you to spot a reaction. Never swerve into another lane to avoid a pothole, instead gently apply pressure to the brakes. If there are potholes along your regular commute, memorize where they are so you can avoid them. Damage from potholes can include:
- Bent rims
- Poor alignment
- Punctured tire(s)
- Exhaust damage
- Suspension damage
Be More Aware of Pedestrians: Now that the outside is appealing, you will see more families and individuals out and about walking around. Bicyclists and joggers will take their space on the side of the road, so slow down, keep alert, and pay special attention at crosswalks. Remember that children don’t think much about darting out from behind a car to run after a dog or a ball.
Spring Showers: The benefit of moving through a wet spring is the blooming of beautiful early season flowers. However, when the skies open up and downpours are imminent, make sure to slow down on the road, use headlights and windshield wipers, and have patience in traffic.
Construction Zones: Good weather heralds the start of road construction. While it may be an inconvenience to have to slow down or stop and wait, remember that construction workers are literally putting their lives in your hands. They are at risk from drivers who don’t follow the rules, so keep everyone safe by:
- Slowing down. There are fines in place for those who don’t heed this warning, plus you could save a life.
- Be aware of lane shifts, workers, and equipment that might suddenly appear. Just because a traffic pattern went one certain way the day before does not mean it will be that way today.
- Review construction signs if necessary so you know you understand them, and be sure to follow them.
- Don’t change lanes on a whim. If there are solid lines in a construction zone, stay in your lane.
- Whenever possible, move one lane over to give extra room to construction workers, emergency vehicles, and broken down vehicles on the side of the road.
Maintain Tires: Tire tread will move water (rain) away from tires, allowing you to move down the road on the path you decide. If the tread is worn, you will be more prone to skidding, sliding, and not feeling in control of your vehicle. Be sure that the tires are inflated to their proper pressure, but remember that now that temperatures are rising, warm weather can create an overinflated tire. Neither is good for safe, solid vehicle handling.
Welcoming spring is an annual tradition for most of the United States. Tulips, daffodils, cherry blossom trees and chirping birds remind us that winter is temporary. But it’s also important to remember that now that the earth is waking up, so is everything else, and you’ll need to have heightened awareness when you’re out on the road.