Most drivers are familiar with the hazards of winter driving. Hopefully anyone living in areas with severe winter weather have taken the time to educate themselves on best practices for driving in these conditions and are adequately prepared for emergency situations that might arise as a result. But what about spring? Just because winter is ending doesn’t mean you can let your guard or maintenance routine down. Each season provides its own unique blend of challenges and considerations, and the following spring driving tips will prepare you to face them.
Winter can do serious damage to roads, leaving potholes in its wake and a thin layer of salt covering everything — ready to be picked up by your car. The salt problem is easy enough to solve by getting a car wash that pays special attention to your undercarriage. The potholes, however, are best to avoid, which everyone knows is easier said than done. Still, be on the lookout for them. Many cities have a hotline you can call to report them for repair. The other issue with springtime roads is that they can be slick due to the added rainfall of the season. Avoid large puddles, which may harbor a pothole underneath or be deep enough to cause you to hydroplane. It’s important to know how to react in a hydroplaning situation. Lastly, spring has been notorious lately for slipping back into winter right when you thought it was over. Don’t remove that specialty winter gear until you have a solid few days over 45 degrees.
Look Out for Others
Both people and animals are sick of being cooped up all winter and are excited to spend time roaming around outdoors when the warmer weather finally shows up. That means more traffic, pedestrians and, potentially, animals in the streets as well. Always pay attention to your surroundings and remember that springtime means you’ll be sharing the road with more traffic and more cyclists.
Stay on Top of Maintenance
Spring doesn’t require as much special maintenance or preparedness as winter, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Take the steps to improve your springtime ride: check and adjust your tire pressure, change your wiper blades and remove the extra weight of your winter emergency kit. If you put winter tires on, don’t delay swapping them out or you’ll wear them out faster. Also, take the time to clean the pollen off your windshield, as it greatly reduces visibility given the right lighting. These are all small adjustments you can do yourself at home, or you can go to a trusted shop to have them taken care of.
Springtime is great for driving. The weather is beautiful and warm, and the scenery is colorful. However, don’t let the escape from winter fool you into paying any less attention to safety or not maintaining your car properly. This season’s an easy one to prepare for, so you don’t have a lot of excuses not to.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on spring driving tips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.