The evenings are getting lighter, and the days are getting warmer as spring is in the air. Each season change brings different driving conditions and challenges, so it’s important to always be prepared. We have investigated the key risks of spring driving and collated some top tips to help keep you safe on the roads.
Key risks of spring driving
Although rain is a common occurrence in the UK, showers and heavy downpours are most traditionally associated with the spring months. Roads, therefore, become very slippery which can be treacherous for drivers. It’s important to be aware that this will increase stopping distances, so drivers need to be alert and allow time for proper braking.
Spring showers can cause localised flooding which can present challenges for drivers. You should never try to cross the flooded section of a road, instead, it’s recommended that you turn around and look for an alternative route. Deep water can cause serious damage to your vehicle, impeding your brakes or stalling your engine, so if possible, you should always avoid driving through large puddles.
If you do need to drive through a flooded area, make sure that you proceed with caution. The RoSPA recommend that you put your vehicle in as low a gear as possible, avoid driving close to other vehicles as there may be bow waves and ensure that you test your brakes after leaving the flooded area.
It’s been estimated that sun glare causes 3,000 accidents in the UK yearly. This is most hazardous during sunrise and sunset as the sun is directly in the line of sight of drivers when it’s low on the horizon. You can protect yourself from sun glare by:
- Wearing polarised sunglasses which help to reflect glare away
- Regularly wiping down your dashboard or windshield
- Finding alternative routes that avoid sunny areas during certain times of the day
- Keeping your headlights on, so that other drivers can see you
In springtime, potholes are more prevalent on the roads and so drivers need to be particularly careful. If you can, avoid potholes but if not, don’t brake when driving over them as this can cause your tyre to hit the edge of the pothole with more force than if you simply roll over it. Instead, you should slow down, release the brake before impact and go over the pothole gently.
During this time of year, animals are on the move and so drivers need to be vigilant to minimise the chance of an accident. Young animals can often stray and go looking for food and can sometimes end up appearing on rural roads. Therefore, you should keep an eye out for stray animals and drive cautiously if you see animal-crossing signs.
As the weather gets warmer, you may also see an increase in people riding horses. If you see a horse then drive past slowly, giving them plenty of room and be prepared to stop if necessary. You should never sound your horn or rev your engine near horses as this could spook them which could cause a dangerous incident.
As the weather is getting warmer, more people tend to be outside, walking or riding their bicycles. Drivers need to be alert so that they can avoid getting into serious pedestrian accidents. There may also be more children playing outside and so if you’re driving in a residential neighbourhood then make sure to drive slowly and carefully in case children enter the road without warning.
Prepare your vehicle for spring
In order to ensure that you’re prepared for these different challenges, it’s important to check if your vehicle is in good working order. We recommend that you perform an annual spring maintenance check so that you can drive safely this spring. Here are some of the key actions that drivers should take:
- Inspect your tyres. The winter weather can cause havoc on a vehicle’s tyres and so now that we’ve entered springtime it’s essential to get your tyres checked. Worn treads and underinflated tyres can make your vehicle lose traction which could lead to a serious accident. Having fully inflated tyres can reduce risks from potholes and other hazards, providing extra protection on the road.
- Check your windscreen wipers. Make sure that your windscreen wipers are ready for the springtime showers by checking for tears and cracks. If your wipers are worn out, or if they make a squeaking noise as they streak across your windshield then it’s likely that they will need replacing with a new pair. You should also keep your windshield washer fluid topped up to help ensure that your windows are clear.
- Check your vehicle’s lights. You should make sure that your lights are in good working order, both inside and outside of your vehicle. This will help you to drive safely in the dark this spring.
- Examine your battery. One of the most important components to check is your vehicle’s battery as it’s one of the hardest-working parts under the hood. It’s a good idea to test your battery and replace it if necessary, as this can help to prevent a future breakdown.
- Do some spring car cleaning. This is the ideal time of year to carry out some serious spring cleaning. To ensure that your vehicle is presentable on the road, you should thoroughly clean your vehicle, both on the outside and inside. This includes clearing out any built-up clutter and vacuuming up crumbs and dirt.
Karl GurneyKarl has over 14 years of experience in the fuel card industry and has a wealth of knowledge around the servicing and maintenance of fleet vehicles. Outside of work, Karl coaches a junior football team and enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 sons.