Spring brings warmer weather, plenty of sunshine, and new blooms. But it also brings its share of storms, road glare, and other driving hazards. Here’s how you can stay safe when driving this spring.


Tip #1: Drive slowly and use caution in the rain.

Roads are most slippery when it starts to rain. This is due to rainwater mixing with the oil and grease on the road. But whether the rain has just begun or it’s been coming down for a while, it still makes roads slick.

      • Keep your headlights on so that you are more easily seen.
      • Slow down and increase your following distance from other cars. Remember that any amount of water could cause you to skid or hydroplane.
      • Make sure your tires have enough tread and your wiper blades are in good condition.
      • Avoid using cruise control in the rain.
      • Avoid driving through water, which can damage your vehicle. If there’s too large a puddle, consider an alternate route.


Tip #2: Avoid potholes and puddles that could be covering potholes.

Freezing, thawing, and road salt in winter can help to create potholes. That’s why you may notice more of them in the spring. If you hit a pothole at too high a speed, or if it’s too deep, there could be problems. Potholes can lead to punctured tires, bent rims, suspension damage, poor alignment, or other expensive repairs.

      • You may or may not see potholes coming. It’s even harder when they’re covered by puddles. Slow down and drive around both potholes and puddles.
      • Keep a safe distance when following another vehicle.
      • Keep both hands on the wheel to avoid losing control if you do strike a pothole.
      • If you encounter a pothole that is especially large or deep, try to find another route.


Tip #3: Be prepared for sun glare.

Spring is known for its bright sunshine that can temporarily blind you when you’re driving. The hours following dawn and preceding sunset are typically the times when the sun is the brightest.

      • Position the sun visor in your car to block the light.
      • Sometimes moving the visors don’t do it. Sunglasses help reduce the sun’s intensity. Keep a pair handy in your car. Wearing a hat or sun visor can help too.
      • Slow down. Give yourself plenty of distance behind the car in front.
      • Keep your windshield clean. Dust, dirt, and pollen can make the glare worse.
      • Pull over if you can’t see.


Tip #4: Share the road with construction, bikes, pedestrians, and kids playing.

Spring weather brings everyone out. That includes construction crews, bicyclists, pedestrians, and of course, children playing. Awareness is the first step.

      • Drive slowly in residential areas. If a ball goes bouncing into the street, chances are there will be a child chasing it.
      • Stop and give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Never pass vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks.
      • Slow down and follow signs for new traffic patterns in construction zones. Solid lines in construction zones mean “stay in your lane.”
      • Learn biking hand signals, and look for bicycles before you make turns. Allow plenty of space when passing bicyclists.


Tip #5: Be on the lookout for deer at dawn and dusk.

Deer migrate during the spring and sometimes venture too close to roads. A collision with a deer is not only fatal for them; it’s costly in terms of vehicle repairs.

      • Be especially careful during dawn and dusk when deer activity is at its highest.
      • Look out for deer crossing signs. These are posted at locations where deer sightings are common.
      • Use high beams at night as long as facing traffic isn’t coming.
      • If a collision seems inevitable, do not swerve into the other lane. You could hit a vehicle and cause an accident that’s worse.
      • Brake firmly, and try to graze the deer rather than hit it. Ease up on the brake just before you connect with the deer. It will cause your vehicle to lift a bit, which might keep the animal from hitting your windshield.


Tip #6: Know how spring allergies can affect your driving.

Spring is a time for allergies. Driving with sneezing, runny eyes and nose, and congestion can be a big distraction. But allergy medications that cause drowsiness could do greater harm.

      • Read the warning label on your allergy medication. If it warns against driving or operating heavy machinery, don’t do it.
      • Replace your car’s air filters to ensure they are filtering pollen, mold, and other allergens.
      • Consider washable car mats instead of cloth ones so you can clean them. Give your car a spring cleaning.
      • Roll up your windows and turn your air conditioner to the recirculation setting. This minimizes the amount of fresh air coming in.


Tip 7: Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.

Keeping your vehicle in top condition will help you navigate the challenges of spring driving more easily. Follow a schedule for regular maintenance.

      • Check your vehicle’s headlights, turn signals, and tail lights to make sure they are working. Make sure your headlights are aligned.
      • Check your car’s wipers and replace the blades if they are showing signs of wear.
      • Check your car’s air conditioning system to make sure it’s working.
      • Make sure your tires have enough tread and are inflated. As temperatures rise and fall, your car tires may expand and contract. This causes loss of air pressure. You will want your tires to be inflated to manufacturer specifications. Check your owner’s manual.
      • Finally, make sure you have the proper car insurance. Coverage will give you peace of mind should anything happen.


Now go enjoy the warmer weather. 😊

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


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