That was a winter we have just got through. Spring driving dangers are around the corner.
We had Covid causing many businesses close or ride the wave to be here for us once we move out of this pandemic. Many set up fleets to deliver.
Now with Spring just around the corner, we get longer days and the hope of warmer weather. It does not feel so long ago when last March and April we had all those lovely sunny weeks, yet we could not go out apart from our 1 hour exercise. But spring driving also means no more snow or ice covered roads.
The Many Dangers of Spring Driving for Fleet Drivers
Even though we do not have to worry about the snow and sliding about on slick roads, the dangers are there. Spring does not mean – as some do assume- that driving conditions are ideal.
Spring brings a number of its own hazards on the roads that drivers need to pay attention to.
I would like to bring your attention to them here.
Here Are The Top Driving Hazards
You need to know about the risks when you are driving for you, your staff driving your fleet cars, vans or Grey Fleet. Make sure that you keep yourself, your vehicle, your business, and other road users safe.
- Potholes that form during winter months can damage your vehicle and cause accidents. We will look at how to identify and minimize damage during your drive.
- Sun glare is a serious concern for many drivers. We will look at how to maintain your car to minimize sun glare and other items to help keep you safe. Download our Daily Fleet Vehicle Checklist that will help you do that.
- Increased number of motorcycles and bicyclists. With the warmer weather the risks of collision increase. We will discuss several simple and effective tips to keep everyone safer on the roads.
- Careful driving in built up areas is necessary as more children will be out playing and could dart into the roads without warning.
- More wildlife activity, especially in rural areas, means that you need to pay more attention to the road to avoid hitting animals while driving.
- Frequent rainstorms bring beautiful flowers but standing water also makes the roads slick and could hurt your eyes. We will discuss several ways to drive safer and reduce eye strain while driving.
Prepare for Driving in the Spring
I think it is important to not just jump in your car and start to enjoy driving about. If you own a business, make sure your staff are aware of the dangers spring driving can bring upon us.
The change from driving in winter to spring is not just the change in weather. Most people will drive cautiously on snow and ice, however the same caution in driving is not carried over on to driving on wet roads.
While spring may not seem like it poses as much danger as winter, the constant rainfall and oil slicks combined with the warm sun can make road conditions dangerous. This can lead to accidents if drivers are not aware of the main hazards that await them on the road.
Here are a few of the leading causes of a crash that you should be mindful of this year!
Now that the snow and ice have gone, we have had floods also as the heavy rains have passed through and the snow melts away.
The rain and snow move into the cracks in the roads. The water freezes and then thaws. Next, the heavy vehicles traveling over the roads causing damage to the surface causing pot hole to appear. These deep holes in the road can cause significant damage to cars and contribute to traffic accidents.
Now let’s consider how the spring weather can make it difficult to see potholes before you hit them. When a spring shower blows in, those potholes fill up with water, making them hard to notice.
If you hit a pothole, your car can suffer severe damage, like popping tires, bending rims, and damaging suspension or the alignment of your vehicle. These types of damages expensive to fix. They can also disrupt traffic and cause cars to swerve leading to a road traffic collision.
While there is no easy fix for drivers to address these hazards, you should keep a close eye on the road surface during spring and leave ample space between you and the car in front of you.
If you do see a pothole, avoid swerving, as doing so could also cause significant problems. Instead, gently press on the brakes as soon as you can in a controlled manner to retain control of your vehicle and reduce the impact that the pothole will have on your car.
2. Sun Glare
Now, I love nothing more than a beautiful spring drive up to the hills to park up, look at the views and have a walk. But a beautiful spring drive can quickly take a turn for the worst, due to sun glare. Sun glare is a factor in many accidents. This is more apparent during sunrise and sunset. This is because the sun is directly in the line of sight of drivers when it is low on the horizon.
Each year sun glare is responsible for thousands of accidents.
Drivers need to pay extra attention to the time of day and other factors when driving during the hours with the highest risk of sun glare.
What can you do about sun glare?
- Always have a pair of polarized sunglasses in your car so you can shield your eyes from the blinding sun glare. These types of sunglasses are specially made to filter out the sun glare as much as possible. But you can still be affected.
- You can also increase safety by keeping your windscreen clean. A dirty windscreen can scatter light, and this can make it even more difficult to see the road and judge your environment.
3. Watch Out for Motorcyclists and Bicyclists on The Road
After the snow and ice has gone, we move into nicer weather this bring an increase to the amount of motorcyclist and bicyclists out onto our roads. This added traffic can make the roads more hazardous for those who are driving passenger vehicles.
It can be difficult to see motorcyclists and bicyclists due to the reduced profile these vehicles have compared to cars and trucks.
The best course of action to reduce these spring driving dangers is to minimise all distractions whilst driving and pay close attention when approaching junctions.
Reducing distractions means no use of the phones for business or private whilst driving. No use of social media, no talking on Clubhouse, FaceTime, or live video. No video or photos. No phone calls or texts. No scrolling through emails or any use of any hand-held device including SatNavs.
Ensure you are fully aware of your surroundings before you set off, reverse, change lanes, changing speed or turning. If you are driving near a motorcyclist or bicyclist, then you should try to keep a safe distance and reduce your speed to ensure everyone’s safety.
4. More Children Playing Outside
After spending months and months inside, not seeing their friends, most children cannot wait to get outside. When the spring comes they are ready to get out, kick about a ball, running about the fields. Many children are not always aware of their surroundings, especially if running towards an ice cream van, for example
If you are driving in a built-up area, you should always pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared to stop if a child was to enter the road without warning.
You can also reduce your speed, as the say 20 is plenty when children are about. Keep your eyes open for children playing, rolling balls or things in the roads such as bikes, scooters and other toys.
5. Increased Wildlife Activity
Many animals start to come out of hiding in the spring. They will be searching for food and mates. Their increased presence can pose dangers on the road.
When you are off driving round the country (when lockdowns end and we can) and you are traveling through our countryside use extreme caution. Slow down and be aware. Take notice of the signs that warn of wildlife in the area. Remember: foxes, badgers, and other animals may choose to be about at night. Deer and others may be more active at dawn and daytime or dusk.
7. Frequent Rainstorms
Spring showers (April Showers) may bring some lovely looking flowers. But heavy rain can cause you to instantly lose all view ahead, causing roads to flood in moments.
When the weather turns, you should ensure you are prepared. Making sure you have good windscreen wipers they have no spikes in them and they work correctly, do all your vehicle checks before you start driving.
At first sight of raindrops, turn on your wipers and headlights. Slow down and keep a safe distance between your car and other drivers. If the rain is so intense that you’re having a hard time seeing, pull over to the side of the road until the storm passes.
Keep your lights on, use indicators to inform others what you intend to do. If you have to pull over use your hazard lights to make sure you are seen.
Keep Spring Beautiful & Safe for Driving
There is nothing better than hitting the road and taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather. A road trip to the Lake District area is a yearly drive I like to do.
However, you should always remember that a lovely spring drive can change and turn into a disaster without warning. Being aware and prepared for spring driving dangers associated with the season will keep you safe. Knowing how to deal with the risks can reduce your chance of being involved in a situation that can injure yourself, your staff, passengers, other drivers, pedestrians and animals.
Do not put yourself or anyone at risk during the spring. Be aware of the dangers of spring driving, make the right and smart decisions and drive with care.