Spring is a lovely time of year – the sun comes out more often, flowers bloom, and the days get longer. The dark days of treacherous winter driving may be over, but driving in the spring can be hazardous, too. When it comes to road accidents, lawyers know that spring presents its own set of driving challenges. This spring, drivers should be on alert for the hazards discussed in this article.
Reduced visibility and slippery roads
Rain and fog carry over from winter into spring. Rain and fog reduce visibility (and thus the safety) of all users of the road. Accident lawyers also know that many spring accidents result from limited traction when roads are wet with rain. Heavy spring rains can cause pooling water and localized flooding, which means hydroplaning can occur. Hydroplaning happens when a layer of water gets between a vehicle’s tires and the road surface; this leads to a loss of traction that prevents the vehicle from responding to control inputs (in other words, a loss of control of the vehicle). When there are pools of water in the road, slow down. If pooling water in the road is particularly bad, turn around and find an alternate route.
Warmer weather brings people outside
The warmer spring temperatures bring children outside. Drivers must slow down and be alert, especially in residential areas and school zones. Children are often distracted by play and do not always pay attention to vehicle traffic or know the rules of the road. As the weather warms, it also brings out more motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Following the winter, drivers are not as accustomed to keeping an eye out for people on foot or on bikes. When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian or rider, it can result in very serious personal injury. It is important for spring drivers to continually scan around their vehicle for smaller-sized users of the road.
Spring also brings out wildlife
Some animals hibernate through the winter. In the spring, they come out of hibernation to forage for food. As residents of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley know, this means that animals such as deer and bears may roam in the streets. Drivers can be seriously injured trying to swerve to avoid animals. In the springtime, slow down and be on the alert for wildlife, especially in rural areas or where animal traffic is known to be high. Keep in mind that many animals are most active at dawn and dusk so be extra vigilant in the early morning and evening (when visibility is often already reduced due to darkness, rain, or fog).
Tire pressure woes
Tires can become underinflated in the winter because colder temperatures cause air in the tires to contract. When tires are improperly inflated they do not perform optimally, which impacts a vehicle’s steering and braking. In the spring, people tend to drive for longer distances and in more heavily loaded vehicles; this combination can push improperly inflated tires to the breaking point. To avoid a tire blowout or accident caused by loss of control due to low tire pressure, check your vehicle’s tire pressure at the start of the spring season and then again before each longer trip.
Potholes and other road wear and tear
In addition to low tire pressure, potholes can cause tire damage and lead to motor vehicle accidents. Spring roads are often plagued with potholes and the general aftermath of winter wear and tear. The culprit is the wide fluctuation in temperatures throughout the winter and into the spring: when water gets into the subsurface of the road, it freezes and then thaws, causing the pavement to expand and contract; this weakens the road and causes cracks and potholes to form. In the spring, drivers should scan the roadway ahead of them for potholes, cracks in the asphalt, and rocks or debris. Drivers should be particularly cautious when approaching puddles as a pothole could be underneath. In the spring, it is advisable to reduce vehicle speed and increase following distance to allow time to safely avoid a pothole or other wear and tear in the road. Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times so you can react quickly if needed while keeping control over your vehicle.
Road construction season begins
In the spring, roadwork such as pothole repairs and highway maintenance begins. To avoid accidents, drivers should slow down in construction zones and be on the lookout for workers and machinery. Traffic patterns are often altered by construction, which can result in driver confusion and thus an increase in collisions. Pay careful attention to traffic signals and other drivers in such situations. It is also wise to build time into your commute to account for construction delays and detours.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident this spring, contact the experienced team of road accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP for a free initial consultation. Representing car accident victims is all we do, and our firm has been dealing with ICBC and other insurers since 1979. Our long history means we have the depth of experience to obtain the best possible result for you. Call us toll-free at 1-855-852-5100.