How to Avoid Accidents & Injury as the Weather Changes
Here in Iowa, the weather is gradually starting to get better. After months of snow and ice, many of us are looking forward to the warm, sunny days ahead. However, springtime presents some serious road safety hazards that you should be aware of. As the weather changes, road conditions can be unpredictable, leading to accidents. As a driver, it's important that you do not let your guard down and instead stay aware of potential dangers and what you can do to avoid them.
Keep reading for five spring road safety tips.
#1: Remember that Roads May Still Be Icy
As the weather warms, snowstorms are replaced with rainstorms. However, here in Iowa, we are still experiencing temperatures below freezing, especially at night. This can create very slick, slippery roads, especially first thing in the morning after it has rained. What looks like a puddle may be black ice. This can spring up without warning and cause your car to spin out.
If you can, avoid driving at night or early in the morning. If you are driving on icy roads, you should accelerate and brake slowly. This can help you prevent a skid. Similarly, if you are driving in an area where you can't tell if the road is wet or icy, reduce your overall driving speed and increase your following distance.
#2: Make Sure Your Tires Are in Good Condition
Ice and rain can make roads slippery. Tires that are in good condition and which have good traction can help prevent your car from sliding. Look over your tires and check for balding. A good test is to take a penny and stick it between the treads (headfirst). If you can still see the top of Lincoln's head, your tread is getting low, and you should consider replacing your tires.
If you are unsure about your tires' condition, don't hesitate to have them looked at by a mechanic. They will be able to identify any problems and let you know how much life is left in your tires. Your local mechanic or tire shop will also help you select the right type of tires for the season and the kinds of driving you do.
#3: Check Your Windshield Wipers
Dealing with rain and hail while driving can be stressful. When your windshield wipers are not effectively whisking the water away, it may be nearly impossible to see the road ahead. After a winter of snow and ice, your windshield wipers may be worn out and in need of replacement. Windshield wipers are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace yourself. If you are not sure what type of windshield wipers you need, check in with your local auto-parts store. They should be able to look up which wipers you need based on your car's make and model. You can also ask your mechanic to check your wipers during your next oil change.
#4: Pay Attention to Potholes
In addition to avoiding driving in bad weather, you should also pay attention to the road's condition. The snow, ice, and freezing temperatures of winter can wreak havoc on roadways. And, in early spring, road crews have not had a chance to make repairs. You will likely notice more potholes and other problems on highways and roads.
While it is best to avoid potholes, this isn't always possible. If you must drive over them, do not slam on your breaks. If you see a pothole approaching, do your best to slow down before going over the pothole. Braking can cause the car to slam into the pothole and potentially cause a flat tire or other damage to your vehicle.
#5: Be on the Lookout for Other Drivers
With the better weather, we also see an increase in traffic. It is important that you share the road and make sure you give other drivers plenty of room, no matter what type of vehicle they are in. Use your indicators to signal your intentions to other drives and avoid tailgating. Reduce distractions and do not talk or text while driving, even if you are using a hands-free device.
On nice days, there are also likely to be more motorcycles and bicycles on the roads. There is also an increase in pedestrian traffic. Remaining vigilant and aware of your surroundings while driving can help you prevent an accident and avoid injury.