Though we’re all excited to say goodbye to old man winter and spring ahead to the warmer weather, it’s important to maintain safety precautions and remain alert and knowledgeable behind the wheel. There’s also more to look out for in the warmer months; more people and animals are out and about, enjoying the weather.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for good driving practice as you enter the new season:
You and your vehicle have just come out of a long, hard winter. Your car has faced tough elements such as cold temperatures, snow, slush, salt and road grit. These can cause accelerated wear and tear on your vehicle, especially if it’s older. The road salt can also be particularly harsh on older vehicles that are prone to rusting. So, it’s a good idea to have a spring cleaning/tune-up arranged for your vehicle with some key areas to check up on:
- It’s important to check all of your vehicle’s lights. Headlights, brake lights, and turn signals should all be checked to be certain they function perfectly.
- Check your windshield wiper blades and be sure to replace them if they don’t completely clear the glass or if they leave streaks.
- While you’re at the front end of your vehicle, go ahead and check your fluids. You’ll want to make sure everything is topped up, like your wiper fluid, to take care of the splashback from all those dirty springtime puddles.
- Unfortunately, there are more than just puddles on the roads during the springtime; there’s also no shortage of potholes. New Brunswickers know this best! So, it’s a very good idea to check your tire pressure regularly, and keep them at the recommended psi for your vehicle.
- Look for rust. As you clean all the winter grime off your vehicle, look for any problem spots that could potentially develop into a more significant issue.
- Finally, you might as well give the inside a little detail! You deserve a fresh start and a clutter-free cabin for your springtime drives.
We’re all excited for the warmer weather, but be careful not to jump the gun! Spring, especially in New Brunswick, can still surprise you with below freezing temperatures, causing ice and/or snow. Winter tires provide extra grip, and you are not required to remove them in New Brunswick until May 1st. You absolutely do not want to leave them on past that date, though. It is just important not to switch to your summer tires right when the spring season hits, as you never know what the New Brunswick weather is going to throw at you.
This may sound obvious, but the springtime brings all sorts of life back out on the roads.
- The warming weather and switch to daylight savings time means more children will be playing outside in the late afternoon into rush hour. They may be kicking around a ball or riding bikes down the street, but children’s movements are often sudden and unpredictable. Remember to slow down and be cautious, especially in school zones and residential areas.
- Pedestrians and runners are much more abundant as the weather warms up. They may very well have earbuds in or be distracted by electronic devices. As the driver, you’ll need to anticipate their path and slow down when navigating around them.
- The warmer weather, dryer pavement, and shining sun is a warm welcome for bikers. Motorcycles will return to the roads, and it’s important to pay attention to your mirrors and blind spots. Motorcyclists can accelerate faster, causing them to “appear out of nowhere” to drivers. It is key to stay alert. On the other hand, they have to break very gradually and cannot slow down as abruptly as a car if needed. Therefore, it’s extremely important to give motorcyclists room on the roads, and stay a good distance back to ensure their and your safety.
- Similarly, cyclists will be out enjoying the fresh air. Be sure to check your rearview mirrors before stopping or turning to be certain of their location. Only pass a cyclist when it is safe to do so, and you have sufficient room to leave at least 1 meter of space between you and them. Always pay close attention, and slow down sooner when approaching an intersection where a cyclist may be turning left in front of you.
- Another thing to watch out for as the weather warms up, will be animals. The hibernation period is coming to an end, and even domesticated pets may be out and about. Always slow down in city and neighbourhood areas and watch for children and pets. Some wildlife may also be out more during the hours of dawn and dusk, so be sure to have your high beams on, and be attentive.
- We’re much more expectant of slippery road conditions during the winter, but all that salt and sand that helps cars gain traction on the ice, actually makes the bare spring roads slippery. This requires drivers to leave a greater braking distance, and remember to brake earlier and more gently when sand is visible on the roads.
- Pairing with our earlier tip of not wanting to change your tires too soon, April can be a tricky month to predict the weather. It’s not uncommon for the weather in New Brunswick to warm up quickly and then drop back down. This frequent freeze-thaw cycle can quickly change road conditions, which can delay or mess up your plans. To be prepared for this potential delay, try to plan for extra driving time for your travels and leave earlier if you can. This will help you avoid unnecessary rushing on potentially nasty roads.
- We briefly mentioned New Brunswick roads’ notorious potholes earlier, but as the ground thaws and these missing chunks of pavement are exposed, they’re harder to avoid, causing your vehicle to be at greater risk for damage. For tips on avoiding the worst of pothole damage check out our blog!
- As the weather warms and everything thaws, the winter runoff and melting snow can cause gravel shoulders to soften and weaken considerably. If you need to pull over, slow way down and steer gently onto a shoulder. Avoid resting the vehicle there for an extended length of time if possible.
- Spring can be a rainy month in New Brunswick. Remember to slow down when it’s raining and water is accumulating on the roads to avoid hydroplaning. In the event that you do find yourself hydroplaning, make sure to remove your foot from the gas pedal without going for the brake pedal. Do not try to overcorrect your steering either. Coast out the hydroplane and gradually pick up once you regain traction and control.
- Spring is construction season. Always slow down in construction zones. It may feel irritating when we have somewhere to be, but it’s important to remember these people are working on the roads for our safety, and it is our responsibility to slow down for theirs.
It’s always a good idea to check Google Maps and plan your trip ahead. The app will keep you updated on road conditions, accidents, slowdowns and construction. It’s an ideal help if you’re in a rush or have a set time you need to arrive at your destination. Google Maps will also give you alternative routes if your usual route is stagnant due to roadwork or any other delay.
Help keep the roads safe for everyone driving this spring.
By following these tips and being knowledgeable, observant, alert, and courteous, we can all help ensure our roads are as safe as possible for New Brunswick citizens. If you happen to be looking for a reliable new-to-you vehicle for the upcoming season, you can click the button below to see our fresh inventory of ReCar Certified vehicles! If you would like to read more from us, you can click here to visit our blogs page!