The season of dangerous roads is still here
The harshest of the winter months may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean Winter weather is entirely gone. We still have a few more weeks at least – six if you believe Punxsutawney Phil – during which we might experience cold temperatures, heavy winds, snow, or sleet. It’s during these types of conditions, and the damage that comes as a result, that we experience the most dangerous of roads. Here are just a few ways that the roads could become dangerous over the next month or so.
One of the most common causes of dangerous roads during the winter is snow. Not only does it make it hard to see when it’s coming down – especially at night – but once it’s on the ground, the roads become slippery. Side roads are typically the worst, as they are the lowest priority, while highways are usually taken care of more quickly. Either way, if you’re out in your car either during or after a snowstorm, be sure to take your time.
Ice is Hard to Spot
Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking Winter passed. We experience a warm day, and start to notice more rain. But the temperatures still drop down at night, and if you recently had a rain storm, it might have turned into ice. Ice is hard to spot, as it may just look like a puddle, or blend in perfectly with the ground. One day you’re driving around, when suddenly your car is sliding on a patch of ice, causing an accident. Don’t fool yourself into thinking Winter is entirely gone, and continue to take your time, especially after it rains.
Downed Branches and Wires
With heavy snow and high winds, there is bound to be some debris in the roads. Weak branches can snap under the weight of snow, falling into the roads, and sometimes bringing power lines with them. As you’re driving along, keep an eye out for not only obstructions within the road, but be careful not to drive under anything that looks like it could fall any minute. If you notice a downed power line in your area, be sure to call the local authorities so that they can get someone out there to make the area safe.
Another common problem during Winter, and immediately after, is that of pot holes. No one likes driving through a pot hole, as it could cause you to burst a tire or mess up the alignment of your wheels. One day everything is fine, and the next you’re looking online for “alignment in Lakewood”. Some pot holes are small, and easy to avoid, while others are large and surprise you. Do your best to avoid driving through these holes as best you can, or you might find yourself at the mechanic sooner than you would like.
Winter Means Driving in the Dark
Finally, during the Winter, we adjust our clocks so that we experience sunset much earlier in the day. This means that you’re going to spend more of your time driving in the dark, which naturally makes things more dangerous. On top of that, cloudy Winter weather hides even the light from the moon, making nighttime even darker.
How to Drive Safely During the Winter
To keep yourself safe during these next few weeks, there are a few things that you can do. For starters, always examine your car before you take it out. Are the wipers in good condition? Do the tires have tread on them? Are the brakes working? Winter driving is hazardous, and your car needs to be in the best possible shape in order to handle it properly.
Besides that, always try to take your time while driving. It’s much better to arrive somewhere a few minutes late than to get into an accident because you were rushing and didn’t notice a patch of ice.
The last thing you can do is take your car in for maintenance if you suspect anything is wrong with it. Don’t put off repairs during the Winter months, as you need your car to work right now more than any other time. Lights look dim? Get the bulbs replaced. Car drifting? Have the alignment examined.
If you can follow these few tips, you will make your Winter driving experiences much safer. The key is to remember that Winter isn’t quite gone yet, and to know what to keep an eye out for while you’re driving. You’ve made it this far, so keep yourself for just a few more weeks until Winter is safely behind us.