Spring Driving Safety Tips
It’s been a long, cold winter in Alberta but Spring is finally in the air! Just because the snow is starting to melt doesn’t mean the risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident is reduced. In Alberta, there are more fatal collisions in May than any other month of the year. Follow these easy tips to avoid suffering a personal injury while driving this Spring:
Check your vehicle
Ice, slush, rain, and fog are all hazards that can make it difficult to safely get around the roads in the Spring. Before you head out, make sure to check your vehicle for the following:
- Keep your winter tires – safety experts recommend that you keep your winter tires on until the average temperature stays above 7 degrees Celsius
- Pump them up – cold temperatures can deflate your tires. Check your tire pressure to make sure they are inflated properly to keep you rolling this Spring
- Replace your wipers – windshield wipers only last 6-12 months. Worn out wiper blades can impair visibility in wet and slushy conditions and are one of the biggest causes of accidents in the Spring
- Light it up – make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly and are clean to ensure your vehicle is visible during wet, slushy and foggy conditions
Share the road
When Spring has sprung, road workers, cyclists, and motorcyclists are everywhere. Be aware and drive with care.
- Check your mirrors and blind spots for cyclists and motorcyclists before changing lanes or turning left – they can sneak up on you and be hard to see, especially at night
- Slow down and give road workers, maintenance crews and other vehicles plenty of space in construction zones
The Spring thaw means more people will be outside and enjoying the warm weather.
- Be especially alert for children playing in the streets – slow down and be extra cautious in school zones and playground zones
- Scan the road for pedestrian crossings and crosswalks – it’s your responsibility to yield to pedestrians trying to cross the street
Watch for animals
54% of motor vehicle accidents on Alberta rural highways involve an animal and many of these accidents result in significant personal injuries for the people involved. This risk of hitting an animal during the Spring is particularly high as many of them come out of hibernation and start foraging for food.
- Scan the side of the road for animals and watch for animal crossing signs – they put them for a reason
- Be aware at dusk and dawn when visibility is poor and many animals are more active
- Many animals travel in groups – if you see one, slow down and be on the lookout for more
- If you safely pass an animal on the road, signal oncoming traffic to alert other drivers to the potential hazard
- If it looks like a collision with a large animal is unavoidable, try to hit it at an angle and let up on your brakes just before impact – this causes the front end of your vehicle to rise and reduces the likelihood of the animal coming through the windshield and causing severe personal injuries to the occupants