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Spring Driving

Topic: Auto

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The phrase “April showers bring May flowers” is a reminder the heavy rains of April brings delightful things – in this case, an abundance of flowers in May. For drivers, Spring driving conditions often mean wet driving conditions.

Daylight savings time, warm weather, and spring fever signal it’s time to plan weekend road trips and vacations. Before you hit the road, keep these tips in mind:

  • The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association recommends checking your tire pressure and tread monthly and before long trips.
    • Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Under-inflation wastes fuel and can damage tires.
    • Newer tires will have better tread and grip on the road, particularly on wet surfaces, which is essential to avoid hydroplaning situations.
  • Warmer temperatures mean more people are outside. Be prepared to stop at any moment. In the city, look ahead for pedestrians walking between parked cars. Share the road with bicycles, too.

When driving in the rain, remember:

  • 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 create unsafe conditions – slow down!
  • Avoid driving through large puddles, which affect the brakes causing the vehicle to skid or hydroplane. It can also splash, impacting the vision of other drivers, causing them to stop or swerve suddenly. If the car in front of you leaves tracks on the road, follow in those tracks. If not, slow down to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.
  • Allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • 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 wreak havoc on the roadways. Freezing and thawing causes potholes and leads to uneven pavement. Hitting potholes and rough pavement 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 pavement.

Following these tips will keep you and your family safe for Spring road trips. Arrive safely!