We all know the saying, "April showers bring May flowers" - that often means wet driving conditions. Winter is ending, daylight savings time is here, and many of us will begin hitting the roads for long weekend trips or vacations. The Rubber Manufacturers Association recommends checking your tires (including your spare) at least once a month and before any long road trips.
Keep in mind that warmer temperatures mean that more people will be outside. Be prepared to stop at any moment. When driving on a city street, look ahead for pedestrians running between parked cars. Bicyclists will also be hitting the road - share the road with them.
Important tips to remember when driving in the rain:
- The first drops of rain can cause the road to be slick. Even a small amount of precipitation can mix with oil or grease on paved surfaces and cause them to become very slick - slow down!
- Avoid driving through large puddles. It can affect the brakes, causing you to skid, or cause you to hydroplane. It can also splash and affect the vision of other drivers, causing them to brake or swerve suddenly.
- Pay attention to the vehicle in front of you. If they are leaving tracks on the road, try to follow in those tracks. If they are not leaving tracks, slow down to reduce your chance of hydroplaning.
- Allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of your. Depending on your speed, you may need two to ten times more distance to stop on a wet road.
- Be cautious of pedestrians - their umbrellas and hoods might keep them from seeing you.
- Allow extra time to reach your destination so that you don't feel the need to rush.
Rain is not the only reason to be aware in the Spring. Winter can reek havoc on the roadways. Freezing and thawing causes pot holes and leads to uneven payment. Watch out for this, as hitting potholes and uneven payment can throw your vehicle out of alignment. Check the inflation of your tires often because full tires can help reduce the damage caused by potholes and uneven payment.
Once the showers have slowed down and the flowers and trees start to boom, allergies can go crazy. Carefully read labels on any medications you take. The side effects and interactions with other medications can impair your driving ability.
If you follow these safety tips and remain alert, you greatly increase your chances of arriving at your final destination this Spring. Happy travels to you and your loved ones. We hope you have a "blooming" good time when you hit the open road!