Things have been warming up in North Carolina, and spring has arrived. Before you get out on the road, be aware that spring comes with some significant roadway hazards. From a safety standpoint, it’s a good idea to have your car checked over for any winter-related damage and get your tires inflated properly for the new season. At the same time, keep an eye out for spring driving dangers:
Wet pavement and flooding: According to the Federal Highway Administration, rain is responsible for about 46% of all weather-related crashes. Wet pavement? It’s even worse; blamed for 73% of weather-related accidents.
Rain and wet pavement may not seem very threatening, but that could be part of why they are. Many people don’t realize that a slippery road can increase your stopping distance by up to four times. Rain mixed with road grease creates a super-slippery mixture, and enough rain can lead to hydroplaning.
Even worse is flooding. Enough water in the road can sweep your car away, but just a few inches could disable your car. Moreover, water can hide other hazards like underwater debris or potholes.
A good rule is to avoid driving into water that you can’t see the bottom of. If you come up upon water in the roadway, just pull over and think. Is there an alternate route you can use? It’s almost never a good idea to take the chance.
Potholes and road wear and tear: The freeze-thaw cycle can wreak havoc on roads. We may not have it as bad as some states, but there can be changes to your familiar route that can be hazardous. Potholes can damage or disable your vehicle, and they can be hard to avoid. Keep a careful eye out for pavement problems and try to avoid them.
Animals are busy now: Spring and fall are the busiest time for animals. In the spring, you may see some animals emerging from hibernation, while others are entering mating season. Some animals have young in winter and may be teaching them the byways. Be vigilant for animals crossing the road, especially around dawn and dusk.
Bikers and motorcyclists abound: Spring is the time when bike and motorcycle riders hit the roads — just when you were getting used to not having them there. Watch out when making turns or parallel parking.
The best overall advice for spring is slow down. There’s a lot going on this time of year and driving can be complicated. Whether it’s raining or a deer crosses the road, everyone is relying on you to get home safely.