With the arrival of spring, we get to enjoy beautiful landscapes with flowers, bright leaves, fresh air, and sunshine. However, springtime also brings its own unique driving challenges and hazards. Common dangers associated with spring driving include:
- Allergy season. Because of seasonal allergies, many drivers either take medication that can cause drowsiness or simply have sneezing fits and scratchy eyes while driving which can result in swerving or reckless driving.
- Inclement weather. During the spring, rain and hailstorms are not uncommon, and dangerous weather conditions generally increase the odds of an accident occurring as they affect visibility, vehicular control, etc.
- Increased wildlife activity. Since hibernation season is over, you may see more animals while driving, and crashes involving wildlife (especially deer) are more common than you think. According to an annual report from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis, approximately 8,000 highway collisions involve deer or other large wildlife. Within the report, the research team mapped out 15,000 miles of California state highways to identify hot spots where wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) are most likely to happen. Amongst those hot spots, several highways in the Sacramento-Placerville area have been identified, specifically I-80, U.S. 50, and SR 49 (in the Sierra Nevada foothills).
- More cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists outside. With warmer weather, more people will be out and about, which means that drivers (and others on the road) have to be more cautious and more aware of their surroundings.
- Potholes. More often than not, potholes appear in the springtime, and hitting a pothole can cause vehicles to damage their vehicles or become involved in a collision.
- Sun glare. The sun may be directly in your line of sight as you drive which can impact your ability to see and drive, especially during certain times of the day, if you do have sunglasses, a visor, or a hat to protect your eyes.
Spring Driving Safety Tips
Here are a few tips to ensure you stay safe while driving this spring.
- Avoid driving through potholes or puddles. When possible, you should drive around potholes, puddles, and debris on the road. Driving over them can lead to bent rims, flat tires, suspension damage, vehicle alignment issues, and other mechanical issues that require repairs. In some instances, you may even get a wheel stuck in a pothole. Puddles can also present issues in that you do not know what is in the water or if there is a pothole under the water.
- Prepare to combat sun glare. Driving visibility is extremely important, and the sun’s glare along with dust, pollen, and pollutants can impact how well you can see. Whether you use your car’s visor or invest in a pair of sunglasses, you should anticipate having to deal with lots of sunshine and potential glares and keep your windshield as clean and clear as possible.
- Be mindful of pedestrians, construction workers, and those with whom you share the road. In residential areas, children may be out playing; on the highways and roads, you may run into construction, and pedestrians and cyclists also share the road with drivers. You should adhere to the rules of the road and drive with caution (i.e. obey the speed limit; pay attention to road signage and signals; etc.) to avoid getting involved in a collision.
- Lookout for wildlife. As you drive this spring, look out for deer crossing signs, use your high beams when driving at night, and use extra caution when driving during dawn and dusk; these actions may help you avoid a dangerous (and costly) WVC.
- Address any allergy symptoms you may have. During the springtime, your allergies may act up because of the increase in pollen and plant life. While driving with a runny nose or irritated eyes is dangerous, it is also hazardous to drive while drowsy. If you take allergy medication, be sure you understand how it affects you, how it may affect your driving, and what the warning labels (if any) caution you about. To help manage your allergy symptoms, it may also be a good idea to avoid driving with the windows down, replace your car’s air filters, and wash the interior and exterior of your car more frequently.
- Keep up with vehicle maintenance. It is important that you ensure your vehicle working at maximum efficiency and is in a safe condition. As we mentioned, you may want to replace your filters. You should also consider replacing or scheduling a maintenance appointment to check your windshield wipers and blades, your tire pressure and condition, your headlights, and your air conditioning system.
Injured in a car, motorcycle, truck, or bicycle accident? Reach out to the esteemed attorneys at Eliot Reiner, APLC for help investigating the accident, establishing liability, and fighting for compensation for your damages. To schedule a free consultation, call (916) 778-3228 or complete our online contact form today.