“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” – Henry Rollins
Driving during spring time is weird. Your routine roads may be full of new holes or you may notice that road signs have been blown by harsh winter winds. Dry roads alternate with wet or even icy parts. And what’s with all the morning fog? The power of winter weather is still here, ready to mess up with our cars. So here are 5 simple tips for driving safe in the spring.
Change gradually how you drive
It is not bad weather the cause to blame for road accidents, it is how drivers behave during bad weather traffic. When snow is melting, the road may seem safer. And the drivers may be over-confident. But keep in mind ice may still lie underneath those thin films of water. Use engine braking. Speeding up on wet roads can lead to aquaplaning. You still need to drive below the speed limits, because those are valid for dry road conditions only.
..but keep the car in winter mode.
Don’t hurry to change the winter tires until April-May. Instead, check them for bulges, cuts or tears – as those are more frequent after a harsh winter. Leave the minimal winter kit (de-icer, spare wipe blades, jump leads etc.) in the car.
Keep the distance
After each winter, new holes appear from nowhere. Actually, some chemicals used for de-icing the roads or even the plough machines can rip through the asphalt. So don’t drive too close from the car in front because the new potholes will take you by surprise. If you cannot avoid one, the best you can do is to release the brake as you make contact with the pothole so the wheel can roll along its shape. Thus, you may avoid slamming the entire suspension and braking system against the sharp, irregular edge of that deep, menacing pothole.
Fog! Fog! Fog!
Fog is dangerous for traffic and it can form near rivers, lakes or as a result of temperature variations. Nothing is scarier than entering a thick fog cloud at high speed on the motorway in the night. The sensation of losing control is frightening. Slow down before driving into foggy portions of road and keep you fog lights on until you exit the danger area. Bridges pose even more danger as they are more slippery and there is no avoidance route in case of imminent danger.
Make room for bikers and cyclists
Our fellow road users on two wheels hardly can wait the first warm day to get their rides out of the garage. Keep an eye out for them and give them plenty of time for maneuvers as they need to face the same tricky conditions as you have, except they are less protected. Traffic courtesy never harmed anybody.
And, as boring as it may sound, we all need to remember this: no matter if you drive a company car or a private vehicle, it is your responsibility to check before each drive the overall status of the car with regard to tires, brakes, fluids and lights.