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Preparing for Warm Weather Driving Hazards

Preparing for Warm Weather Driving Hazards

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Each season presents inherent driving risks that should be taken into account before and while you are behind the wheel.  These include having the vehicle properly serviced and an appropriate survival kit in the trunk.  When it comes to warm weather driving, there are a few hazards that are unique to the season that often get overlooked.  Let’s take a look at some things to be mindful of as you hit the road as temperatures increase and days get longer.

More People Are Traveling

Warmer weather beckons more people to hit the road for anything from enjoying a day in the city to taking short trips out of town.  More people are also distracted, laid back and less-focused on the act of driving during this time of year as well.  More people are also on the road who are less-experienced because they avoid driving during winter weather or when it gets dark earlier.  Consequently, there is more traffic and a greater mixture of different vehicles being driven by people who have different attention spans and levels of skill.

This is the time of year that you need to be focused on defensive driving and prepared for anything while you are on the road.  Expect to be almost hit by someone who is talking on their cell phone.  Expect a greater number of aggressive drivers who are weaving through traffic and tailgating.  Expect more impaired motorists as well.  You get the idea.  Just expect more opportunities for things to go wrong in the blink of an eye, and be prepared to deal with them appropriately.

More Animals

Warmer weather means more animals are active, especially at night.  Everything from deer to raccoons, skunks to alligators are found crossing roads more frequently.  A significant number of serious and often fatal accidents can be attributed collisions with animals.  Many of these can be avoided by slowing down, especially on winding, country roads, and being more attentive of your surroundings.

You also should consider how you will react if an animal suddenly crosses your path.  There are many times when it’s much safer to hit the animal than it is to slam on the brakes or take evasive action.  If you do need to evade a large animal, such as a deer, you will need to think quickly about exit routes and how to minimize the risk of crashing into something or someone else.

More Construction

Construction zones often pop up out of nowhere, and most alerts and warnings go unnoticed.  Emergency repairs and minor fixes also occur without a lot of fanfare.  States are getting very strict in terms of enforcing speed limits in construction zones, and many have passed laws that make penalties for killing or injuring construction workers more severe as well.  Be alert, slow down and find alternate routes when necessary in order to avoid problems and hazards associated with road construction.

Bad Weather

Spring and summer storms often form without a lot of warning, and it is very easy to get caught off guard.  Pay attention to weather forecasts, avoid driving through certain areas if you expect to encounter severe weather or flooding, and always be on the lookout for bridges to hide beneath or other areas of safety if you do get caught driving in severe weather.

Remember that streams and rivers can flood very quickly and wash out low-lying roads.  Remember that you should never attempt to outrun a tornado.  Be mindful that it’s safer to be off of the road then on the side of the road during heavy rain.  In other words, use common sense and good judgment when it comes to a surprise encounter with a storm while on the highway.

Your situational awareness needs to kick into high gear while driving during the warmer weather months.  Keep in mind that your actions can either cause or avoid a catastrophe on the road, whether or not you are the one who is creating the hazard.  Consequently, you want to sharpen your defensive driving skills and be more observant, because most hazards that you will encounter will require you to act with little or no hesitation.

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