With spring at its peak, many are excited to go out and do road trips while enjoying the scenic view. However, while it’s a great time to enjoy the great outdoors, you shouldn’t let down your guard, especially when driving.
The beauty of spring comes with a price. The nigh-perfect balmy weather goes hand in hand with various road hazards including floods, wildlife, and busy streets. These factors make it as important as ever for you to remain vigilant while driving. Follow these spring driving safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
#1 Prepare your vehicle
Road safety measures must be taken even before you get into the driver’s seat. Preparing your vehicle is one way to avoid the dangers of driving in spring. Make sure to do the following:
- Keep all headlights, brake lights, taillights, and turn signals clean. Make sure they are all functioning so you have better visibility at night.
- If your windshield doesn’t clear up immediately when cleaning, it’s time to replace your windshield wiper blades.
- Keep your winter tires on until the temperature stays at an average of approximately 7°C.
- Ensure your tires are inflated and have sufficient tread.
- Top up your windshield washer fluid.
#2 Give your tires a thorough inspection
Giving your tires a complete inspection will allow you to determine if you need to repair them or purchase new tires.
Replace your tires if they measure 2/32 inches. New tires are typically 10/32 or 11/32 inches deep, but this degrades with use. Tread depth allows your tires to grip the road, making it easier to stop the vehicle when it needs to. Driving with worn treads can cause road accidents.
If you need to replace the tires, find good quality tires from a reputable source. Note that tires don’t have to be brand new; used tires are a cost-effective choice. Find a trusted dealer by doing your due diligence to research companies and read their recommendations and reviews.
#3 Watch out for pedestrians and other people on the road
Spring weather can draw people outside, so expect plenty of foot traffic. When driving through busy streets, remember to:
- Slow down when passing through pedestrian lanes, school zones, and playground zones. Adhere to speed limits:
- 60 km/h, in major roads in urban areas
- 50 km/h, in residential areas
- 30 km/h, near schools and playgrounds
- Follow traffic rules carefully.
- Be wary of pedestrians who may be preoccupied (like if they’re focusing on their phone) or if they’re not paying attention while crossing the street.
- Slow down or stop when driving through work zones.
- Adhere to all speed limit signs posted in areas where maintenance is ongoing.
- Give road maintenance crews enough space for them to work.
- Always follow the flag person’s signal.
- Always do a mirror check before changing directions or switching lanes.
- Scan for oncoming vehicles when turning left, especially motorcyclists. They can be difficult to see, especially during dense traffic hours or at night.
#4 Be extra careful when passing by construction zones
When you’re driving through construction zones, pay particular attention to your surroundings and make sure to:
- Be on the lookout for construction workers and/or heavy load equipment that may enter the pathway.
- Follow the road signs.
- Make lane changes safely. You should stay in our designated lane when you see solid lines in construction areas.
- When driving through construction zones, slow down.
#5 Watch out for wildlife
Animals, particularly wildlife, are more active during the spring. Spring is the season when animals come out of hibernation, hunt for food, and start mating. Be especially careful at dusk and dawn since this is the time when wildlife is most active.
- Slow down when you see animal crossing warning signs. Look straight ahead and pay attention to the road.
- Some animals move in groups. Slow down or stop if you see a single herd animal (like geese) since there might be others following.
- Be on full alert even when driving in urban areas. You might encounter animals roaming near wooded areas, parks, or city outskirts.
#6 Be careful of floods
When spring rains come (especially in tandem with meltwater), it can cause flooding. To stay safe you have to:
- Avoid crossing the flooded area of a roadway. Look for an alternative route.
- Don’t drive through broad puddles. Driving through high water (even if it’s only 6 inches deep) can obstruct your brakes and stall your engine. It can also cause your vehicle to hydroplane.
- On wet roads or in heavy rain, drive at a speed with which you can easily manage your vehicle.
- When driving on slippery roads, avoid using cruise control.
#7 Prevent Your Vehicle From Hydroplaning
Your car is at risk of hydroplaning when it starts to rain. There are roads that don’t drain well compared to others, leaving a large puddle of water in the way. Hydroplaning starts when tires start losing their grip on the road, making it difficult for you to pull the brakes. If you brake too hard, your vehicle can lose control. Drive slowly when it rains.
#8 Don’t Drink and Drive
In 2014, 1,273 (55.4%) of car crash deaths were a result of individuals driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Spring may be a time of celebration, but you have to do it responsibly.
The rules are simple:
- Don’t drive if you’ll be drinking. Instead, call a cab. Alternatively, have a sober friend drive you home.
- If you’re drinking with a group, assign a designated driver to stay sober and drive everyone home safely.
Impaired driving is a criminal offence. If you’re caught, you can be charged with large fines or put in jail or on probation.
Here are some extra safety-first driving tips for the season:
- Keep out of other drivers’ blind spots, especially when dealing with large vehicles.
- When driving in the rain, use low-beam headlights.
- Drive at slow to regular speed. It’ll be easier to step on your brake in case a pothole is unavoidable.
- Schedule a break — at least a 2-hour interval — when going for long road trips.
- Scan the road ahead of you for 20 to 30 seconds when driving in rural areas.
- Adhere to speed limits at all times.
- Don’t drive when you’re not feeling well.
Strictly adhering to road safety tips is a must to protect you and those around you. Your behaviour behind the wheel goes a long way in doing exactly that.
One of the most important things you shouldn’t neglect is taking care of your vehicle, especially your tires. Make sure that they are in excellent condition before you hit the road. If you need new or used tires, turn to Round & Around Tire Inc. We have a good-quality selection of new and used tires just for you. We also offer tire installation and other services. Call us at (905) 383- 8474 for inquiries.