Spring is on its way, which is good news for drivers who don't particularly enjoy navigating roads in the snow. But what you might not realize is that there are a number of roadside dangers that can jeopardize your safety even once winter has bid adieu. Although the Fourth of July is considered to be the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes in the U.S., that doesn't mean you can be worry-free behind the wheel until then. To stay safe this spring, here are a few driving tips you'll want to keep in mind.
Watch For Icy and Flooded Roads
Even once spring has officially arrived, that doesn't mean that Mother Nature will pay attention to the calendar. Temperatures can vary quite a bit in the early spring months, which means you may be dealing with both ice and rain for a while. Cold overnight temperatures can make for icy roads come morning, which means you'll need to be on the lookout for slippery patches and know how to react to avoid hydroplaning. Hail may also be a concern during this time of year, so you should be prepared to pull over and wait out the storm if one occurs. Of course, flooding can be common during the spring, too. When melting snow and heavy rains collide, roads can become flooded. In general, you should slow down during rainstorms, maintain a safe driving distance, and avoid driving through puddles. Even small amounts of standing water can damage your car or leave you stuck!
Prep For Potholes
Potholes are often formed when asphalt expands and contracts due to changing temperatures throughout the winter. Of course, road salt and snowplows can make these potholes even worse. They start to become visible by the early spring months, so you'll want to take care to avoid them whenever possible. If you can't safely maneuver your car within your lane to avoid them, slow down and release your brakes right before you drive over the pothole. Don't swerve to avoid missing the potholes, as this could make for more dangerous conditions. But if you hit a pothole at normal speed, you could pop your tire, throw your car out of alignment, damage your suspension, or bend your rims at a result. To prevent unnecessary expenses related to vehicle maintenance, keep your eyes peeled for potholes and know how to react to them.
Look Out For Cyclists and Pedestrians
As the weather warms up and we experience an increase in daylight hours, many people will be looking to get their daily exercise outside. Cycling and walking can be great for exercise, but drivers share responsibility in keeping everyone safe. Although millions of people are injured on U.S. highways each year, it's likely that you won't encounter too many bicyclists or joggers when you're on the interstate. When you're driving through residential areas, however, you'll want to slow down and stay alert. Give cyclists, joggers, and pedestrians a wide berth whenever possible and pay close attention while driving through neighborhoods and near crosswalks, in particular. Remember that it's your duty to share the road; even if you have the legal right of way, be courteous and do your part to protect others.
Schedule a Spring Tune-Up
Spring is a great time to schedule car maintenance, as you can assess any damage obtained during the winter and prepare for summer driving. Since 96% of Subaru vehicles sold during the last decade are still on the road today and many cars on the road are more than five years old, there's a good chance that your auto will be in need of a little tune-up. You'll likely want to replace your wiper blades and top off your wiper fluid, check your tire pressure, test your lights and your brakes, and replace your air filter. You may also want to take a trip through the car wash to clean away all the salt and dirt!
Slow Down For Wildlife
Many critters like squirrels, deer, skunks, and groundhogs are active during this time of year. For them, hibernation is over and mating season has begun. Slow down when you see animals near the side of the road or when traveling through areas with animal crossing signs and more wooded environments. Many animals are most active during the early morning and evening hours, so pay extra attention when driving around dawn and dusk. If you do see an animal in the road, resist the urge to swerve and try your best to brake in a straight line. But if you maintain a slower speed, you'll have more time to avoid hitting these creatures.
When the weather warms up, driving can be highly enjoyable. But it's important to remain vigilant and to re-familiarize yourself with safe springtime driving. With these tips in mind, you can protect yourself and others on the road throughout the season.