Although winter has ended and the days are warming up, the spring season brings along its own dangers for those who share the road. With conditions such as overnight freezing and potholes littering the road, it is important to understand that the springtime can be just as dangerous as winter and fall if you are not careful. Motorists must be mindful of these conditions to avoid a car accident. The following are some driving tips for you and your family to keep safe this spring.
Tips for Safe Driving in Spring
Check your tires. Make sure to have the tread and condition of your tires checked after the long winter. Even though the snow and ice are gone, there is still a threat of slick and wet roads during the spring. Good tire tread is essential to wet weather driving; as the tire rotates against the ground, water moves through the channels of the tread and is displaced elsewhere, better gripping the road. Without good tread, there is no grip, which could lead to a very dangerous situation. Be sure to have the condition of your tires checked as well; remember that even if the tread is okay, old rubber begins to dry rot, which leads to cracks in the sidewall. Dry rotted tires could lead to a tire blowout.
Check wipers and windshield. Wipers are likely to get damaged during the winter months, so spring is always a good marker each year to have them checked and replaced. Do not forget about checking your windshield as well, top off your washer fluid, and clean the inside and outside of the windshield thoroughly to remove all the salt and tree sap from the previous months.
Keep a safe distance. Even though the days are warmer, springtime nights can still get close to freezing temperatures, making the morning commute slick. Keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles and increase the distance as the conditions get worse. It is always recommended to leave about three seconds between yourself and the car in front during regular road conditions and increasing to eight seconds when it is raining out. Driving too closely to other vehicles will not give you enough reaction time should another car come to a sudden stop.
Watch out for puddles and deep water. Be wary of deep puddles during springtime showers, as they may be deeper than they look. Driving through deep puddles could cause damage to your undercarriage, cause you to lose control, or your car could start hydroplaning. Stay in the middle lane and away from the sides of the roads whenever possible, as the sides and shoulders are where rain accumulates most.
Look out for potholes. The snow and ice of winter can damage the roads and leave potholes, and potholes are notorious for blowing out tires or causing steering damage. Just like puddles, avoid potholes as best as possible, and if you must drive through one, do not brake. If you brake inside a pothole, it could lead to more damage to the tire than just going over it.
Avoid drowsy driving. Some people appreciate daylight saving time because of the hour jump forward and more time in the sun; however, daylight saving time and the week following are known for drowsy driving as our bodies struggle to adjust to the time change. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving and happens all year round, so it is important to recognize its signs: trouble keeping focus, daydreaming, excessive yawning, and blinking are just a few signs of drowsiness. If you start to feel drowsy, pull over and find a safe place to rest your eyes for 20 minutes.
Be aware of sun glare. The longer days of spring mean more time in the sun; unfortunately, the sun can blind drivers during certain parts of the day, mostly during the rush hour commutes. Have a pair of sunglasses and use your visors when necessary. Furthermore, leaving a good distance between yourself and the car in front is helpful in case you get blinded momentarily and gives you time for your eyes to adjust. Finally, make sure your windshield is clean because streaks on the glass amplify glare, making the sun even more blinding.
Share the road. With the nicer weather expected during spring, more and more people are going outside to walk, ride their bikes, or jog to enjoy their day. Always be aware of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists, as they have as much share of the road as you do. Realize, also, that many of them have their own traffic laws to obey, so be careful near bike lanes and pedestrian cross walks. Always check your mirrors and use your turn signals when turning, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Watch out for animals. Although most wildlife poses a danger to drivers during the fall months, it is also true for the springtime, so always be extra careful if you see animals around. This is especially true with pets, as the nicer weather normally means their owners are outside with them, and should they run off, they might go toward the road.
Be careful with medications. Be extra careful if you suffer from springtime allergies and take medication for it, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Many allergy medications cause drowsiness, so be sure to check the label to be sure, or speak with your doctor or pharmacist about the dangers. Also, be aware that combining medications could cause side effects such as drowsiness if you happen to take other drugs.
Tend to vehicle maintenance. Spring is a good marker each year to have your vehicle maintained and checked out, particularly after the beating it takes from winter. Have your oil changed, fluids topped off, and brakes and tires checked and replaced if necessary; the winter conditions can wreak havoc on your car. Be sure to also have your battery checked and replaced as well. The temperature drop of winter drains your battery quickly, and it may need to be replaced when spring comes around.
With the warmer weather and longer days, spring is a great time of year to enjoy driving and the open road. But stay alert and be aware of your surroundings and enjoy your time in the sun.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Injured Clients in Any Season
Springtime is a great time to get out on the open road and experience the warmer temperatures and longer days. However, there are motorists who do not have safety in mind when behind the wheel. If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent or reckless driver, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced legal team will be your advocate so that your legal rights are protected and that you receive full and fair compensation. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.