How to Drive Safely in the Spring
The spring introduces new risks for drivers when out on the road. From adjusting to daylight saving time, to the increased risk of sudden weather changes from warm to cold temperatures that can create road hazards, spring driving takes some special care and attention. You’ll also encounter more people out and about such as cyclists and joggers as the weather improves, thus presenting an additional risk.
Let’s look at the increased risks and how to drive more safely in the spring.
Watch for Pedestrians
With longer days thanks to daylight saving time and warmer weather, more people will be out and about later in the day. Therefore, you need to keep your guard up to avoid unexpected pedestrians. From kids who can kick a ball into your path, to runners training for their next marathon, and people out for a stroll deep in conversation to those hoofing it with their iPods blaring, people can become a little more unpredictable in the spring.
While watching for pedestrians should always be top of mind when driving, this is the time of year when those travelling on foot might not be as aware of drivers.
The Return of Motorcyclists
Along with more foot traffic, you’re also going to encounter more riders finally out enjoying their motorcycles after a long hibernation over the winter. It can be a surprise to spot your first rider in your rearview mirror, so keep in mind they are going to be back out there sharing the road.
Because it can be hard to predict when they might accelerate faster or even have them seem to appear out of nowhere, knowing they are back on the roads can make it easier for you to become hyper-aware they could pop up in your blind spot when you change lanes.
Share with Cyclists
Cyclists will also start to appear in larger numbers as the weather improves. Play close attention when making a turn to check for cyclists in your rearview mirror. Also, if you do pass a cyclist, make sure you check every once in a while to see where they are, as they might come up fast if you are deciding to make a turn. Intersections can also be dangerous for cyclists, so be sure you are slowing down just in case a cyclist makes a turn and isn’t paying attention.
Motorcycles aren’t the only critters coming out of hibernation. Be aware that there will be more wildlife on the prowl, especially when driving at night. Dawn and dusk are typical times when all kinds of animals are looking for food, from racoons to foxes and coyotes. Also, remember it’s not just in rural areas that these animals can be encountered; even deer can be spotted on urban roads or roadsides where there is a shelter of trees or a meadow.
In early spring, you can also encounter leftover winter sand used to reduce friction for icy, snowy roads. This can cause an issue when roads are dry, as it takes more distance to brake. If you notice you are driving on a sandy road, make sure you are braking earlier and more gently to avoid skidding.
Winter Tire Changes
Since the weather can be so unpredictable, avoid changing your winter tires too soon. You don’t want to be that guy who finds themselves slipping and sliding about in the last snowfall because they had their tires changed in March! Also, don’t drive with your winter tires on too far into the spring either, as this can wear down your winter treads.
Extra Driving Time
Since spring tends to be the season with the most unpredictable weather, be certain you watch the weather report before heading out. You want to know if extra driving time is required, but also if you can expect sudden freezes that could make risk for black ice higher.
The harsh winter weather tends to leave a mess of potholes on the roads. Make sure you are travelling at a safe speed so you can steer clear of potholes. This way, you avoid creating an accident, while also avoiding damage to your car. Keep in mind that damages caused by a severe pothole are paid for by the city, so be sure to report accidents right away.
Winter weather can make gravel shoulders softer due to snowmelt and runoff. If you find that you have to pull over onto a shoulder, do so slowly and carefully, so you avoid getting stuck.
You know the old joke that there are only two seasons in Canada: winter and construction? Well, it tends to be true! Be more aware of possible road closures, lane shortages, equipment, etc. related to road construction, as more workers will be on the roads with the increase in projects.
Get a Spring Tune-Up
Since you have to get your winter tires removed, consider arranging for a spring tune-up at the same time. The winter roads wreak havoc on your vehicle. A thorough check of your vehicle with special attention to your fluid levels, brakes, lights, and wiper blades will ensure you are ready to hit the road safely. Also, don’t forget the possibility of rust. Salt is infamous for rusting vehicles, so have your mechanic do a spot check for rust before it can spread.
If you have a cherished summer car that you save for the lazy, hazy days of summer, then it needs a road test and maintenance check as well. Things that can really lead to dangerous driving include your tire pressure, brakes, and fluids. Your battery could also be in jeopardy after sitting unused for the season.
Looking for Auto Insurance in Ottawa? Contact us!
Make a call to your insurance broker to confirm your Ottawa auto insurance is in order. It gives you peace and mind, and might even lead to some opportunities for a better package or improved premiums. You can also discuss some possible upgrades to your coverage such as collision or comprehensive coverage.
The team at Oegema, Nicholson are here to help you put together the best possible auto coverage for your needs, so speak to us today.