On average when people talk about bad weather driving, they are typically referring to winter driving that involves snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Surprisingly, spring driving can also be hazardous due to slippery roads from heavy rains and in some cases flooding. More instances of hydroplaning, or loss of traction, happen during the spring season. Do not forget about the extreme weather as well. The mixture of cold and warm airs that happen more often in spring brings about heavy thunderstorms that can bring damaging winds and hail. Keep in mind road conditions once the road thaws because winter can be extremely damaging to road surfaces and you may find an overabundance of potholes have developed. However, there are plenty of tips and tricks to take into account when preparing your vehicle for spring.
- Perform preparatory maintenance
One major step you can take to prepare for driving your car in spring weather is to conduct some basic maintenance yourself or have your car serviced by a professional. Winter grime tends to build-up on the undercarriage of your vehicle and is usually tracked inside your car as well. Give your car a bath inside and out because the protective salt found on roads during the winter can cause rust and corrosion issues throughout your vehicle. Consider taking your car to a professional car wash to have the underside power washed to remove all trace of winter grime. Make sure to top off your fluids, check over your brakes, and ensure your alignment and suspension are in proper working order. Basic maintenance after the winter weather has come and gone can go a long way to ensuring your safety through the spring season.
- Keep the snow tires on
Along with your preparatory maintenance, check your tire pressure and ensure none of your tires have any bald spots or excessive tread wear. These conditions contribute to instances of hydroplaning. Perform the penny test if you are unsure of whether or not your tread is worn too far down. Consider keeping your snow tires on for a little while longer as they have better traction control than other tires. Believe it or not, snow tires are meant to stay on your vehicle until the temperature registers above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, make sure to get your tires rotated especially if you have gone 5,000 miles without doing so. Rotation ensures that all the tires wear evenly, which will help you to maintain safe driving.
- Be prepared for defensive driving
The winter blues tends to affect everyone including animals and when the weather starts to warm, people and wildlife alike start to appreciate the outdoors again. There will definitely be an increase in motorcycle activity, people on bicycles, children at play, and wildlife roaming the roadside. Be prepared and vigilant when driving to avoid a possible collision due to the increased human and wildlife activity. Keep in mind that wildlife tends to come out more during dawn and evening hours. You may have to consider reducing speed if you are night driving or on your early drive to work especially in a heavily wooded area. Also, try to avoid distracting behaviours like texting so that you can stay focused on the road.
Winter may have come and gone, but spring weather requires drivers to still be prepared and observant of the road conditions around them. There are plenty of easy steps a driver can take in preparation for the new year without breaking the bank.