While it may not feel like it, spring has finally come to Northern Illinois, at least according to the calendar. In the next few weeks, temperatures will begin to rise, and the snow and ice of winter will become unpleasant memories. For most drivers, spring represents a period of relief from slippery roadways and whiteout conditions, but the season brings with it an entirely new set of dangers. There are some things you can do to help prepare your vehicle for spring driving and to prevent accidents.
De-Winterize Your Car
It is common for drivers to take extra precautions with their vehicle when winter is approaching. They may switch to snow tires, for example, and use heavy-duty windshield wiper blades. Spring, however, brings different types of weather patterns, so it is important to be ready for them. Removing snow tires in favor of all-season or “summer” tires is usually a good idea. Snow tires have aggressive treads designed to account for ice and snow on the roads, while all-seasons are generally better at handling wet roads and standing water.
Even if you do not change your tires for spring, you should definitely check them to be sure that they are properly inflated. Cold temperatures can cause tires to lose air pressure. Properly inflated tires not only increase gas mileage but they also handle better than underinflated tires, which could be key to preventing an accident.
Be Prepared for Rain
Spring is by far the wettest season of the year in most areas. According to federal estimates, rain contributes to more than 40 percent of all traffic accidents in a given year. As rain falls, it can mix with oil on the pavement, causing extremely slippery conditions and making it very difficult for drivers to stop quickly. Just a few minutes of rain can also leave standing water on roadways, creating the possibility of hydroplaning.
Your windshield wipers are your first line of defense against rainy weather. It is a good idea to replace them so that poor visibility does not cause a preventable crash.
Human and Animal Activity
With temperatures on the rise, you are likely to see an increase in the number of cyclists and pedestrians on or near area roadways—many of whom may not know the rules of the road very well. It is also common for pedestrians to be distracted by cell phones or other devices, so it is up to you to slow down and drive safely.
You and your family are not the only ones who have been waiting for winter to end. Animals of all kinds also become more active in the springtime, especially in suburban and rural regions. When driving in an area where animal activity is likely, slow down and be alert for deer, raccoons, and even dogs and cats. A collision with an animal can be dangerous, of course, but so can swerving to avoid one. In your attempt to miss an animal on the road, you could potentially swerve into oncoming traffic or an unseen pedestrian or cyclist.
Injured in an Accident?
No matter how careful you are this spring, it is still possible for the actions or negligence of other drivers to cause an accident. If you or someone you love is injured in any type of motor vehicle crash, contact an experienced Wheaton personal injury attorney. Call 630-462-1980 for a free consultation at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered today.
Safety tips for spring driving: How to handle seasonal hazards