By: Lisa Harper
Our 7 top tips for driving in the springtime:
Hopefully the Spring will see an increase in temperatures, which will bring out other road users including, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. Make sure you’re prepared and pay extra attention to other road users. When overtaking cyclists and horse riders make sure to give them at least at much room as you would when overtaking a car.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) data for 2016 found that 102 cyclists were killed (including 8 children) and 3,397 seriously injured in road accidents. It’s thought that human error from car drivers or from the cyclist are the main reasons for incidents. It’s therefore really important that as a car driver you proceed with caution when approaching and passing cyclists.
The NHS figures suggest that there are around 10 million hay fever sufferers in the UK. Hay fever can distract us from driving whether it’s our puffy eyes reducing visibility, sneezing continually or taking our eyes off the road to reach for a tissue. Taking hay fever medications is essential for many drivers just to be able to make their commute. However a survey run by Brake and Direct Line in 2014 found that 3 in 10 drivers were unaware that some hay fever medications can impair driving.
Antihistamine medications can cause drowsiness, reduce reaction times and negatively affect your co-ordination. So always check the label of your medication to see if it could have an impact on your driving. Speak to a pharmacist for advice on the best medications to manage your condition and keep you safe whilst driving.
Snow and ice can have a detrimental effect on your wiper blades and result in poor performance. We’ve all had the experience of damaged wipers just smearing dirt across our windscreen, that’s why we would suggest checking your wiper blades. If they do not effectively clear your windscreen in one sweep we would recommend replacing them.
The change in weather conditions can result in an abundance of potholes in the spring.
Potholes are formed when water gets beneath the road surface, freezes and subsequently expands. This weakens the road surface and causes cracks to appear within the road. As the weather improves it thaws out it and contracts creating small gaps within the road surface. In spring temperatures fluctuate causing this process to be constantly repeated which gradually causes the formation of large gaps (aka potholes) within the road surface.
Take care to avoid potholes and manoeuvre around them wherever possible. If you must go over a pothole slow down on your approach and do not brake whilst travelling over a pothole. Braking will cause your tyre to slam into the edge of the pothole with more force than if you just travelled over it.
Seasonal spring showers can cause wet road conditions. Wet roads can be just as slippery as icy roads, so be sure to increase your stopping distance. Also watch out for areas of split fuel as when mixed with a wet surface it creates a really slippery surface.
Cruise control is now found on most modern cars and whilst great at improving fuel efficiency, its usage isn’t recommended during wet weather. This is because in wet weather it is often necessary to be more reactive in your driving and at times you may need to ease off the accelerator to prevent loss of traction.
The sun can still be quite low at peak times when you may be commuting in the spring months. The glare from the sun can substantially obscure visibility so we recommend having a pair of sunglasses handy, to protect your eyes and ensure you can see the road ahead at all times. Polarised lenses are best as they filter out the blinding, horizontally-oriented light that causes glare.
Dirt and debris scatter sunlight making glare worse so keep your windscreen and mirrors clean to reduce the impact of glare and improve visibility.
Remember other drivers may also be affected by glare so maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Try to avoid sudden stops as low visibility can reduce people’s reaction times.
Spring is a great time to give your car a really good clean. Whether you choose to do it yourself or opt for a valeting service, it’s a great time to remove the built up grime from winter.
If you need any further persuading then there are some unpleasant statistics about the amount of bacteria found in our cars. A study from SellCar.co.uk found that vehicles are 55 per cent dirtier than our computer keyboards, so don’t delay get spring cleaning your car!
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