Many drivers are happy to trade scraping windshields and snowy roads for spring showers and longer days. But spring and summer weather also present several hazards for drivers. After a long winter, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous the roads can be this time of year, so here is a new list of spring and summer driving tips.
Spring Driving Tips
Pack Shades for Later Sunsets
As spring unfolds, days will be getting longer again. This means your usual darkened commute home could happen at dusk, with bright sun, high contrasts, dark shadows and conditions that phase quickly. Keep a pair of sunglasses handy to use if needed.
Know the Hazards of Spring Rains
Even gentle showers can make for significant road hazards. Rainy days make roads slippery and can lead to longer breaking or hydroplaning. The Federal Highway Administration cited rain and wet pavement as a cause of 46% and 73% of weather-related accidents, respectively, from 2005 through 2014.
Watch Out for Standing Water
Even when the sun returns, water can continue to pose a risk of damage or injury. Flash flooding is common minutes or hours after a heavy rain. Drivers need to be careful to never drive into standing water. Fast-moving water can wash out roads and bridges, sweep away cars, and cause injury or death.
Look Out for Hail
Hailstorms are common in spring when warm and cool air meet to produce powerful storms. Small hailstones can shatter windshields and the ice balls can accumulate suddenly on roadways. Particular caution is needed in the hail-belt states of Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
Watch for New Potholes
Winter is tough on roads. Excessive wear and tear from ice and snow, road plows, salt, sand and deicers is common in many locales. Once the snow is gone for the season, watch out for new potholes that may have developed. A bad one can cause vehicle damage or an accident.
Be Ready for Increased Animal Activity
Animals love the return of spring as much as people. Some are emerging from hibernation, while for other wildlife spring is mating season. Heightened activity near streets and roadways is common for deer, elk, big cats and other wildlife. Watch for animals near woodlands, hills, culverts and bodies of water.
Prepare for the Return of Cyclists and Motorcyclists
Warmer conditions and longer days also signal the return of cyclists and motorcyclists to streets and roadways. Whether for recreation or transportation, bicycles and motorcycles can present a hazard for drivers turning, parking or opening doors. Share the road and check your mirrors and blind spots.
Summer Driving Tips
Slow Down for Construction Workers
Road construction and maintenance work reaches its peak in the summer in many parts of the country. According to the Federal Highway Administration, motor vehicle crash deaths of construction and maintenance workers average 772 per year. Stay alert, obey signage and slow down in construction work zones.
Avoid Tire Blowout Dangers
Hot weather, expanding air and worn rubber can lead to an unexpected blowout. Sudden temperature spikes are particularly hazardous. Always check your tires for proper inflation and condition. Replace tires with uneven or excessive tread wear to avoid a problem.
Share the Road with Teen Drivers
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 2,800 teens died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016, with most teen driver deaths occurring during the summer months. Share the road with younger drivers who are have less experienced.
Watch Out for Vacation Traffic
Summer is peak travel season in many parts of the country. Whether on the highways or locally, be on guard for vehicles unfamiliar with the area that may make sudden stops, change lanes or slow down unexpectedly. Traffic may be even heavier around holidays and on the weekends.
The spring and summer months present different road safety challenges than winter months. Before you head out, take a moment to refresh your memory about key dangers of the season with these spring and summer driving tips. Help ensure you get to your destination safely and reduce the risk of needing to file a claim.
Read on for more auto-related risk management information like The Importance of Commercial Auto Insurance and Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Personal Car for Business Purposes.