This past winter was another harsh one, and the warmer climate has put everyone back in a good mood. Now that cars and trucks aren’t treating the highways like penguins on ice scarps, you would think the roads would be safer. In fact, lots of accidents happen in the spring due to the overconfidence that comes with driving on a clear highway. Let us do some backseat driving, and we’ll review the steps you can take to avoid a potentially deadly accident:
• First, spring brings wet roads. No amount of driving experience can prepare you for handling a car when it hydroplanes. On average, it takes 3-4 times as long to brake on wet pavement as it does dry. If the road is wet, you need to drive slower. Not only can it ensure you stop in time, but you can better watch other troublesome drivers.
• Winter salt is harsh on your car. The temperature changes affect your tire’s air pressure. If you drive a lot for business or prepping for a vacation, you should check your pressure. Tire pressure should be measured on a monthly basis. The necessary air pressure for your tire is given by the manufacturer, which can be found in the car manual. Sometimes it is also etched into the edge of the door or glove box.
• You will also want to consider replacing your tires, or switching out the winter set. Treads should be at least 2/32”. If the tires are bald, they need replacement immediately. Sudden rainstorms can result in sudden spinouts. Rotating your tires can extend the longevity. This should be done every 5,000 miles.
• Potholes are a big concern after the winter weather breaks up the pavement. Hitting one directly can mess up your suspension, dent the wheel, or destroy your alignment. You can gauge your alignment by very briefly loosening your grip on the wheel. If it pulls to the left or right, the car will need a checkup. The faster you are driving, the more damage a pothole will do. Yet if you are driving too fast, never brake while driving over the pothole. You will hit the edge more directly, causing more damage to the vehicle.
• More people are on the road during spring than any other time of year. Like when gym use in January spikes due to New Year’s Resolutions, people are heading out as if it is the first time they’ve seen the sunshine. People are enjoying the weather. Cyclists, runners, and pedestrians will be out and about, wrapped in their electronics and perhaps impaired by music players. Drive much slower in residential areas.
• A new air filter on your car will help reduce allergies. The cabin air filter removes pollen, dust, and other pollutants. Sneezing and a constantly running nose can break your concentration long enough to be dangerous.
• In addition to maintaining focus, it is incredibly important to get a good night’s sleep before long trips. Pay attention to the side effects on any medications you may be taking. Benadryl, a common OTC for allergies and colds, may make you drowsy and a danger on the road. Never drive if you feel like your ability to focus could be compromised.
If you run into any issues while driving this Spring and need to be represented, don't hesitate to reach out to Ohio Injury Law.