How to Avoid Car Accidents in the Springtime
Springtime is an excellent time for a drive. Breaking out of your winter hibernation and taking a trip to the mountains is a great way to kick those winter blues. Whether you’re heading to the mountains or into work in the morning this spring, you may be surprised to learn that early spring is a particularly dangerous time to drive. A recent study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder showed that during the week following the “spring forward” time change that happens each year, car accident fatalities spike up to 6% in the US.
The researchers were unable to establish why this spike occurs each year, but it highlights the importance of auto safety year-round. You can take a few steps this and every spring to help ensure your commute is safe. According to Denver Trial Lawyers, these are some of the best ways to protect yourself against car accidents in the springtime.
Keep Your Car Maintained Properly for Spring Weather
Vehicle maintenance is always one of the best ways to avoid unnecessary car accidents. However, there are some spring-specific maintenance steps that you can take to help you out even more.
Change Your Tire Pressure with the Seasons
Maintaining adequate tire pressure is always a good idea. In springtime and any other season change, however, it can be especially crucial. Maintaining proper tire pressure helps your tires grip the road, which helps avoid sliding on the road during turns or skidding as you brake. A sudden break or a quick sharp turn is often necessary to avoid an accident.
Checking and adjusting your tire pressure is especially important when seasons change because temperature changes with the seasons. As the temperature rises during the spring, the air in tires expands with it. If the air in your tires expands too much, your tires can overinflate. Overinflated tires are prone to blowouts and do not grip the road as well as they would with the proper inflation level. Thus, a properly inflated tire can save you from an accident.
Remove Snow or Winter Tires
If you use winter or snow tires, you should change them as the weather shifts. Winter tires do not handle as well as warm weather tires in warm weather conditions. If your tires aren’t handling as well as they can, your safety is at risk.
You should also change out of your snow tires when the weather warms up to make your snow tires last longer. Snow tires are often more expensive than other tires, so you want to make them last as long as possible in the conditions they are built for.
Turn on Your Headlights in the Rain
The spring often brings more rain than the winter does. To aid in your own ability to see and to help others see you, make sure your lights are on whenever you drive in the rain. The only way another car can avoid hitting you is by seeing you and adjusting. Make sure you are visible by turning on your lights in the rain.
It is also important—not just during the spring—to ensure all your lights are in working order. Periodically check your brake lights, fog lights, headlights, and turn signals to ensure they are working properly. If any light needs a replacement, have someone take you to the auto parts store to get one. Doing so will help ensure your safety and may help you avoid a traffic ticket!
Be Careful with Allergy Medication
For many people, springtime means allergies. For a lot of those people, allergies require taking allergy medications. After all, it would be dangerous to drive while experiencing a sneeze attack or swollen eyes. However, if you plan to take allergy medication, be sure you know how it will affect you before driving after taking it. Many individuals who take certain allergy medications report that they make them drowsy or groggy. It is always dangerous to drive when you are drowsy or groggy. Be sure you know how any allergy medication affects you before taking it and driving.
Get Adequate Sleep
Perhaps one reason why the week after “spring forward” is particularly dangerous has to do with people’s sleep patterns. During “spring forward” we often say that we “lose an hour of sleep” when the clock jumps. If you get up early for work, this lost hour of sleep can be a very real thing. If you have to get up early during the week after “spring forward,” try to go to bed an extra hour or two early. Driving while drowsy is always dangerous, so plan ahead around the “spring forward” week. It could save your life.
Pay Close Attention to the Road
Paying close attention to the road and your surroundings is always one of the most important steps to take to ensure the safety of you and those around you while driving. Paying close attention becomes especially important during the springtime. During the winter months, we may become accustomed to driving with very few people outside. We may fall into the habit of allowing our cars to drift into the bike lane or assume that there aren’t going to be any people out walking on the road. If we fall into these habits, it is crucial that we shake them when spring comes around.
With the nicer weather of spring, everybody wants to be outside. Who can blame them? Soaking up the Vitamin D of a sunny March afternoon is an excellent way to shake off the winter blues. There’s no need to bundle up for a walk outside anymore, so more people end up walking around. Furthermore, children can finally play outside during the spring without dealing with snow and ice. With the increase in the number of pedestrians on or near the road, it is important to pay close attention to those around us when we drive during the spring.
The same idea applies to motorcyclists and bicyclists. Both types of cyclists are more likely to be out on the road when the weather starts to warm up. Additionally, both types of cyclists share the road with us, and both are more difficult to see than cars. As a result, taking note of others on the road is an essential way to enhance safety during springtime driving.
Watch Out for Animals
Wild animals are much more active in the spring than they are during the winter months. Some wild animals will be active, with newborn young ones following behind them during the spring. Wild animals often walk in front of cars without knowing the danger they are in, so if you aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to hit them. Hitting a large animal isn’t just dangerous for the animal. It is dangerous for the driver as well, so pay close attention for wild animals during the springtime.
These are just a few of the steps you can take in the springtime to help ensure your safety on the road. Be especially careful during the first week after “spring forward,” and follow these steps to enhance your safety. Perhaps most importantly, no matter the time of year, always wear your seatbelt!