Teen driving in springtime
By Jana Rhodes / Posted June 22, 2015

Spring Driver Safety Tips

It finally happened. The long, seemingly endless winter came to an end and spring is here. If you’re a driver, you’ve got to change gears, and go from winter driving mode to spring driving mode. Here are important tips for spring driving to keep you safe on the road:

  1. Watch for flooded areas. The spring thaw can create deceptively deep areas of flooding on the road.
  2. When driving through standing water, slow down and keep a steady speed. After you get back on a dry surface, check your brakes by pumping them a few times. Water can reduce braking efficiency until the brakes dry off.
  3. Driving slowly through standing water also prevents water from splashing onto other vehicles, which can cause other drivers to lose visibility. In addition, you may also give pedestrians and bikers an unwanted shower!
  4. When temperatures are hovering around freezing, be careful that standing water isn’t actually ice. Even when regular pavement is merely wet, ice can form on bridges, causing surprisingly slippery conditions.
  5. In arid climates, a spring rainstorm can cause roads to become exceedingly slick, as the rain causes accumulated motor oil on the road to become slippery. Be mindful of this, especially in high-traffic conditions or when driving at high speed and/or on curvy roads.
  6. Get familiar with and use your fog lights. During early morning hours especially, spring moisture and ground temperature can create extremely foggy driving conditions.
  7. When driving in fog, slow down and leave extra space between yourself and the car in front of you. Reduced visibility reduces your reaction time; furthermore, foggy weather means the road may be wet, increasing brake time.
  8. Hail is another concern for drivers during spring. Hailstorms can occur quickly and violently. Don’t panic if you suddenly hear hailstones pelting your windshield, but try to find a sheltered spot to wait out the storm.
  9. Check the weather before you get in the car. If hailstorms are in the forecast, keep that in mind when planning your trip and parking. An ounce of hailstorm prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  10. Tornadoes are another spring weather concern, more serious than hail but thankfully less likely in most areas. Pay attention to weather forecasts and monitor atmospheric conditions when driving, especially if you live in tornado zones. Learn more about what to do when driving in tornado conditions.
  11. Bikers were mentioned earlier, and you should be on the lookout for them. Spring weather brings out recreational bicycle riders, and they can make driving problematic, especially on narrow roads or when turning and parking. Bikers should know the rules of the road and follow them, but often, they do not.
  12. Motorcycles are another roadway item we don’t see very often during the winter. Remember to leave a bigger gap between your car and a motorcycle, since they can brake much more quickly. Also, California allows motorcycles to pass between vehicles in adjacent lanes (lane splitting), something drivers may not be expecting. Learn more. While lane splitting is mostly illegal in other U.S. states, it may occur nonetheless — motorists, take care.
  13. Animal activity tends to increase during spring. Motorists should be wary of deer, raccoons, skunks and other critters scurrying across the road, especially around dawn and dusk, when activity is high and visibility is low.
  14. Changing temperatures, melting snow and falling rain is a recipe for potholes. Be careful to avoid them, as hitting a deep one can cause an axel to break or do other serious damage to your vehicle. When roads have potholes, it is wise to slow down, making it easier to avoid them and reducing the potential damage of driving over them.
  15. Getting a tune-up is a great way to kick off the spring season. Winter takes a toll on cars, so you’re probably ready for an oil change, new filters, a brake inspection and a thorough cleaning to get the salt off, especially underneath.

Guest Author Bio

Kimberly Quinones has been the Vice President of Sales in the Midwest for over 10 years. She oversees and manages all aspects of sales, service and customer retention programs for Illinois Vehicle Auto Insurance. Kim is a proactive leader that works side-by-side with her teams and customers to ensure a strong relationship is built between the two.

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