Welcome to spring, otherwise known as road construction season! Now that winter is behind us, we all look forward to warmer, sunnier weather but forget that spring can also be one of the most dangerous times for road travel.
With ever-changing weather and wildlife awake and ready to roam, the road can become an obstacle course so it pays to brush up on avoidance techniques. It also pays to be prepared with the right cheap car insurance so you can protect yourself and your vehicle from these hazards as well as many others!
When it gets warmer out, you can bet that folks want to get out of hibernation and that includes hopping on a bike and taking a spin around the neighborhood. Always look and wait for bicyclists to pass when you are turning onto a road, and give them a wide berth when passing them.
People aren’t the only ones who appreciate the warmer temperatures and sunnier days; all types of animals are out now foraging for food and looking for mates. Keep in mind that wildlife can, at any time, pop out from the side of the road and find themselves directly in your path. The most active time for wildlife is dawn and dusk (especially deer) so be especially vigilant at these times. Temper your speed when driving through more rural areas, and never swerve to avoid a deer or smaller animal as it could take you into the other lane, into a utility pole or ditch.
Nearly 10% of all Americans suffer from springtime allergies so you can bet that when you get behind the wheel, there will be a lot of medicated drivers on the road with you. While there isn’t much you can do about that fact alone, you can be proactive and keep yourself from getting behind the wheel if you are among the many millions of people who take allergy meds, especially if they make you drowsy.
If you live in an area that has a lot of winter weather, you know you’ll be dodging potholes. Driving over seriously deep and wide potholes can do extensive damage to your vehicle. Water can fill a pothole and essentially mask the severity of it, so whenever possible, drive around potholes even if they look like simple puddles.
- Make a mental note of the potholes along your regular route so you can avoid them
- Keep a good distance between you and the driver in front of you so you can see how they react or where they hit a pothole
- Drive at a reasonable speed over roads and highways you know will have potholes
Did you know that almost half of all accidents that are related to the weather happen when it’s raining? Precipitation can mix with oily residue from cars and wreak havoc on the roadways causing vehicles to hydroplane. Always slow down when it rains, turn on your headlights, and keep your tires properly inflated. Be sure the tread on your tires is sufficient as well, so your vehicle can re-grip the pavement if you do slip.
It can be a little disconcerting, how much more activity there is on the road than there was during the winter. When you consider cyclists, motorcycles, joggers, walkers with strollers, pets, kids playing, road construction crews, wild animals, more cars – it can be a lot! Remind yourself to follow the simplest of rules and most of all – be patient with the increase in road congestion.
- Yield the right of way
- Process road hazards and react properly
- Avoid being distracted
- Maintain a proper distance behind other drivers
Spring brings the opportunity for hail, that mix of snow and ice that can damage your vehicle and make the roads slick. It’s best to not drive in hail at all, if you can avoid it. If you’re able to get your car into a sheltered area, you’ll minimize chances for a broken windshield and/or mirrors, and a speckling of dents in the shell of your vehicle.
After a long winter of snow and the onslaught of spring rains, gravel shoulders can turn to mush and easily wash away. Do your best to avoid parking or even driving on gravel shoulders.
Getting Your Car Ready
Although the winter might seem like a more necessary time to keep your vehicle in good repair, the spring is really no different. Well inflated tires, tires with good tread, plenty of windshield wiper fluid, wipers that are fresh and not ripped, and a well-charged battery will keep you up and running.