Spring is officially here! The best part of spring is the much-anticipated warmer weather that comes along with the season. While we are excited about the nicer weather, we must remember that the roads and the way we drive will alter drastically from season to season. Just because there is no longer snow and ice on the streets, it does not mean you should throw caution to the wind. Potential hazards can easily loom around any bend.
Below we have outlined some simple spring driving safety tips to keep in mind while on the roads:
Keep an eye out for animals! We tend to forget that many animals hibernate during the cold winter months. When the warmer weather rolls in, these animals begin to venture out and about. Drive with extreme caution and pay attention to animal street signs while driving through rural and high traffic animal areas. Wildlife is all around; we need to adapt to their surroundings as they adapt to ours. Going slow in these areas can help you avoid hitting an animal while driving, which can result in minor to major accidents depending on the situation.
With spring weather also comes more people spending time outdoors, whether going on bike rides, walks or just paying around their house. It's extremely important to drive cautiously in neighbourhoods and obey the speed limits. With an increase of children and cyclists out, keep your eyes peeled and be on high alert. Knowing the busy traffic times in your area can help. Typically, between 8am – 9am, there will be an increased number of children and adults heading to school or work. Between 3pm – 7pm people head home for the day and enjoy some time outside before bed.
April is notorious for heavy rainfall. Heavy rainfall can make roads slippery, and drivers should use extreme caution when driving in this unpredictable weather. Slow down sooner when approaching a stop, maintain a safe distance from other cars and use your turn signals and brake lights to alert other drivers. Be sure to drive the speed limit and obey all traffic laws. Keep in mind that the speed limit applies only to normal dry conditions. Going below the maximum speed limit in bad weather, heavy traffic areas or construction zones is allowed and recommended for safe driving.
Potholes are not uncommon to see on the road after a Canadian winter. Snowploughs removing snow and salt during the winter months can cause damage to the asphalt or concrete. Roads are usually hit the hardest with snow, and after time the top protective weather layer can wear away, causing cracks. When snow and water get into these cracks, it can cause further damage that, when a plough hovers over the surface, can rip up the road, causing a pothole. Potholes can develop quickly, so drivers must keep a lookout when driving in spring weather to avoid damage. Be sure to report potholes to the city’s road maintenance department immediately.
Not only can potholes cause automobile damage, they can also cause automobile accidents. If unexpected, they can cause a driver to veer off the road or into oncoming cars. You can avoid this potential risk by looking ahead and safely slowing down when approaching road damage.
A driver will go through more windshield wiper fluid during the winter compared to summer months. This is due to clearing off snow, ice, salt debris and other dirt for a clear view of the road ahead. In the spring, inspect your windshield wipers as they may not be performing as well as they should. Windshield wipers are prone to damage caused by ice freezing the rubber blade. A windshield wiper at its peak performance will clear your windshield for a clear view and is needed in case of rainy weather. A defective windshield wiper can make clearing your view challenging and is a potential risk to yourself and others.
You can plan your journey, but you can't always plan what conditions the road ahead will be. However, by following the above tips, you can enjoy spring and all it offers and arrive to your destination safely.
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