What are the Top Safety Tips for Spring Driving?March 22, 2021
Spring has arrived, and the changing season is the perfect time for motorists to make sure that their vehicle is in good working order. The winter weather can cause a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle, so it is important to make sure that the tires, brakes, engine, and all the other parts are working properly. In addition to taking the necessary steps to prepare the vehicle for spring, there are a number of other safety tips that motorists should keep in mind as the weather gets warmer that will help keep other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe.
Motorists who are involved in a car accident should seek the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.
How can I Prepare My Vehicle for Spring Weather?
Any time the seasons change and there are fluctuations in temperature, it is a good time for motorists to make sure that their vehicle is in excellent shape.
- Visit the carwash. This is a good time to have the exterior and the undercarriage of the vehicle thoroughly cleaned. Road salt, dirt, and other elements can accumulate in the undercarriage of the vehicle and cause rust and buildup.
- Maintain the tires. Winter driving can do a number on a vehicle’s tires. In addition to ensuring that the tires are aligned and rotated when necessary, this is also a good time to check the tire tread to make sure that the tires are not balding. As the weather changes, the air pressure will need to be adjusted. Motorists can check air pressure by placing a penny in the groove with Abraham Lincoln’s head down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, the tires should be replaced soon. If the tires are balding, they may need to be replaced immediately.
- Check the lights. Motorists should also make sure that the vehicle’s headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake lights, and backup lights are all working properly.
- Check the windshield wipers. These also take a beating during the winter from snow, ice, and freezing rain. The beginning of spring is a good time to change the wipers and make sure that there is plenty of wiper fluid. New wipers will improve visibility and help reduce the risk of a car accident.
- Check the car battery. The cold weather requires vehicles to work much harder, which causes the battery to drain more quickly. If the battery is older than four years, it should be replaced.
- Replace vehicle fluids. Certain fluids, such as windshield wiper fluid, can empty quickly during the winter, so the beginning of spring is a good time to make sure that all vehicle fluids are topped off or replaced as necessary. In addition to the windshield wiper fluid, the brake fluid and engine oil should be filled. Brake fluid ensures that the brakes are working properly, and the engine oil protects the engine against wear and tear.
- Check under the hood. Drivers should inspect all the vehicle’s hoses, belts, and air filters and have them repaired if they are cracked or damaged in any way.
What Driving Precautions Should I Take During the Spring?
As the weather warms up, more motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians are out enjoying the longer days and milder temperatures. Although the ice and snow are gone until next winter, there are other hazards for which motorists should be aware and tips they can follow to avoid being involved in a serious accident, including the following:
- Beware of potholes. The combination of snow, ice, and snowplows can create potholes in the roads. The larger the pothole, the more damage it can do to the vehicle. In addition, when spring showers fill a pothole with rainwater, motorists may have a difficult time seeing it and avoiding it. This can cause popped tires, bent rims, and damage to the suspension or the alignment of the car. If a motorist tries to avoid a pothole, he or she may veer into another lane and cut off another driver. Motorists should pay close attention to the road and gently apply the brakes if they see a pothole in the road ahead.
- Prepare for sun glare. This is another common hazard associated with spring weather. Sun glare is often most severe during sunrise and sunset, when many motorists are commuting to and from work. It can seriously affect visibility, which increases the risk of being involved in an accident. Wearing a pair of good-quality polarized sunglasses can shield motorists’ eyes from blinding sun glare. Keeping the windshield clean can also increase visibility and reduce the risk of an accident. If possible, commuters should consider changing their route so that they are not driving directly into the direction of the sun.
- Increase the following distance. In addition to the bright sunny days, there is also a good amount of rain during the spring. When driving during rainy conditions, whether it is a light rain or a heavy downpour, motorists are urged to increase their following distance. During normal weather conditions, a safe following distance is three seconds. When driving in the rain, the following distance should increase to eight seconds. To check the following distance, a driver picks a fixed object up ahead and counts to three. If they reach the object before counting to three, or to eight during inclement weather, they are following too closely to the vehicle ahead and should slow down.
- Stay in the middle lane when it rains. When it rains, the rainwater and the oil that rises to the top of the water surface can cause tires to lose traction with the road. The water tends to pool to the outside lanes, so the middle lane is the safest place to drive.
- Know what to do if the car starts hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when the vehicle’s tires lose traction with the road and start to ride on top of the standing water. Although many drivers believe that hydroplaning happens only during torrential rain, it can also occur when the roads are slightly damp. To prevent hydroplaning, motorists are urged to slow down, avoid using cruise control, and stay away from puddles or standing water. If the vehicle starts hydroplaning, the driver should take his or her foot off the gas but do not hit the brakes. The driver should gently turn the wheel in the direction that the car is hydroplaning and wait until the tires reconnect with the surface of the road. Hydroplaning can also be avoided by driving at a safe speed and maintaining good tire pressure.
- Check the weather report. The weather conditions can change quickly during the spring. Storms involving high winds and heavy rains can develop within a short period of time, so it is important to be prepared. Hailstorms can be particularly dangerous because, not only are the roads wet with rain, but also there are ice pellets coming down. Motorists should check the local weather forecast and if severe weather is predicted, stay off the roads if possible. If driving cannot be avoided, motorists should use extreme caution, slow down, and pay close attention to other vehicles in the vicinity.
- Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. The mild weather brings more people outside, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. These individuals are much more vulnerable to serious or life-threatening personal injuries if they are hit by a car because there is nothing protecting them from the impact of the collision. Motorists must pay close attention to their surroundings and use extra caution when sharing the road with motorcyclists or bicyclists, or if there are pedestrians in the vicinity. This is particularly true when motorists are driving in a school zone or in a residential area where children are likely to be riding their bikes or crossing the street.
- Watch out for wildlife. There are a wide range of animals that are coming out of hibernation in the early spring. When driving in wooded or rural areas, motorists are urged to use extreme caution, particularly when driving during dawn or dusk when animals such as deer are more active. If a deer or any other animal runs across the road, drivers should resist the urge to swerve to avoid hitting the animal. The safest thing to do is brake in a straight line.
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness. Many people suffer from seasonal allergies in the spring. Over-the-counter allergy medications can cause drowsiness, which can affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. If a driver is taking an opioid pain medication, this can also cause drowsiness, slower reaction times, and reduced coordination, all of which can increase the risk of a serious car accident.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Car Accident Victims with the Claims Process
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a car accident this spring, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and assist you with every step of the claims process. Our dedicated legal team will protect your rights and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will continue to fight for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.