Don’t Ignore These Spring Driving Risks
We seldom think about risks associated with spring. We are more likely to think about flowering blooms, warmer temperatures, occasional and refreshing rains, spring break vacations, and other positive signs that let us know the winter is behind us. Spring driving risks barely cross our minds, and this is risky in and of itself; all seasons present unique risks to drivers, and the period between early March to late May is no exception. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get on the road during spring, the season that many people consider to be the most enjoyable of the year:
This is an interesting risk insofar as having little to do with environmental or climate factors. Simply put, the overall positive feeling of spring tends to make many drivers less aware of potentially risky situations. Whereas winter conditions typically make us pay greater attention to the road and to our cars, the opposite happens when spring arrives. It is important to remember that road construction crews suspend operations during winter and resume working in spring. We also need to be aware that this is a season when we see more bicycles and pedestrians on the road.
Spring is the Season for Potholes
The correlation between spring and potholes on the streets is more evident in regions that experience heavy snowfall. When frozen road surfaces thaw, the soil under the pavement will absorb water seepage and moisture, thus weakening the asphalt and concrete layers. This is one of the reasons you see more road maintenance crews during springtime. We all need to pay attention to potholes and try to safely go around them; when they are inevitable, we must slow down as much as possible while tightly holding on to the steering wheel. In regions of high humidity such as South Florida, early rains will make potholes appear even faster.
Wildlife on the Road
In Maryland, it is not unusual to see black bears waking up from hibernation during the early days of spring, and drivers may come across them on rural roads where bears usually set up their dens nearby. Deer may also become more active in spring as females care for their offspring; these animals are more likely to cross rural highways at dusk and during daybreak.
Tires and Wiper Blades
If you let an auto shop switch your snow tires to the all-season kind, you will be in good shape because the technicians will check tread condition and air pressure; otherwise, you will have to do this on your own. Remember that winter conditions will cause your tires to lose pressure, and this may result in faster loss of tread quality. At the same time, overinflated tires with worn treads may cause your car to hydroplane in rainy conditions. A similar situation occurs with your windshield wiper blades; since they tend to wear out faster during the winter, you will want to replace them in early spring and in anticipation of heavier rains.