Tips for Safe Spring Driving
Spring is one of those seasons when the weather is unpredictable and variable from one day to the next. And unpredictable, constantly changing weather can present some hazards for driving. So whether you’re heading out on a spring road trip or just driving to and from work every day, read our tips for safe spring driving.
Know When to Take Off Your Winter Tires
It’s tempting to take off your winter tires at the first sign of spring, but one day of warm weather does not mean it’s safe to switch to your summer tires. A good rule of thumb is to wait until there are about 10 days of temperatures above 7 degrees Celsius until you make the switch. Find out more about when you should switch over your winter tires here.
Be Aware of Ice
Spring is the time for fluctuating temperatures. If there’s still snow on the ground, the warmer days can lead to melting, but overnight temperatures that dip below freezing can turn that melted snow into ice. Be cautious of wet roads when you’re driving, as these can be icy. Slow down and adjust your driving accordingly.
Be Aware of Cyclists & Motorcyclists
Warmer temperatures bring out motorists we often haven’t seen in months: cyclists and motorcyclists. Car accidents involving cyclists and motorcyclists can be catastrophic, so it’s important to keep your eyes out for smaller road users. Keep a safe distance from the bike lane, and always check your blind spot for these drivers before switching lanes.
Pay Attention in Residential & School Zones
As the weather starts to warm up, children who have been cooped up inside for most of the winter will start to play outside. While it’s important to look out for children everywhere when driving, it’s most important in residential and school zones. Young children may run out into the street unexpectedly, and teenagers may be fixated on their phones. Be vigilant and give yourself time to react in these situations.
Look Out for Potholes
The freeze-thaw cycle that comes with the changing temperatures can turn spring into pothole season. Potholes can cause major damage to your wheels, especially if you hit them at high speeds. Stay focussed and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, so you have plenty of time to avoid potholes. Keeping a safe distance can also protect you from kicked-up rocks from the car in front of you. And remember not to keep your eyes fixed on the road, but use quick glances to watch out for road dangers.
Be Careful in Flooded Areas
Between the melting snow and spring rains, flooding is not uncommon during the spring months. Whether encountering large puddles or flooded roads, be careful. Puddles can hide potholes and other road dangers that could damage your car or even cause an accident. For heavily flooded roads, you should avoid them altogether and seek an alternative route.
Use Caution When Pulling to the Side of the Road
With melt water and spring rain, gravel shoulders can become soft and sometimes even gullies can form. If you’re pulling off on a gravel shoulder, be extra careful as you could slip. Always stay alert and make sure to turn the steering wheel smoothly to prevent yourself from losing control of your vehicle.
Be Careful on Sandy Roads
Over the winter, mixtures of salt and sand are often applied to the roads to help melt the snow and give car tires better traction. In the spring, there’s often a lot of residual sand left on the roads and it can build up in your tires, reducing your ability to grip the road. Make sure you’re extra careful on these sand-covered roads and drive cautiously.
Stay Alert for Animals
Spring is the time when animals come out of hibernation and start foraging for food. Always stay alert for animals that are crossing the road, and slow down in rural areas where animals are more common. Stay alert so that you can brake to avoid hitting animals, but never risk your safety or the safety of other motorists by using sudden, evasive manoeuvres to avoid animals.
Rain is common in the spring, and like snow, it can present driving dangers. Get these tips for driving safely in the rain from Logel’s Auto Parts in Kitchener-Waterloo.