Tips For Safe Spring Driving
Article By: Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada. He was a judge on the first 3 seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper since 2005. Since then his columns have been printed in several publications including newspaper, magazines and various web-sites. You can visit his own blog at http://safedriving.wordpress.com.
Well, it might finally be here – spring. We’ve had a long, cold winter and I think everyone is looking forward to nicer weather. Many people begin to feel happier when the temperatures begin to rise. When that happens, we also begin to see more kids playing outside. I enjoy watching my kids outside getting fresh air, but as a driver, having kids playing outside creates added risks on the road. Are you ready for these and other risks?
When the weather warms up, you’ll often get a bit excited that spring is on the way. Car windows get rolled down and stereos get turned up. Both of those things can distract the driver from their job of driving safely. Loose papers inside your vehicle can blow around when the windows are down. Securing any loose items such as papers is a good thing to do to help you avoid distractions. Focus on your driving as the weather improves.
When weather improves and the windows drop, many drivers tend to rest their elbow on the door and drive with one hand. Show how good a driver you are by keeping two hands on the wheel. Having two hands on the wheel will help you steer around a sudden problem with ease. Typical reaction time often isn’t quick enough to allow you to grab the wheel with your second hand when you need it. By the time your brain tells your hand to get back on the wheel, it’s too late.
As the temperatures rise, you’ll find more kids sledding, playing road hockey and just fooling around in the yard and near the street. It’s always a good idea to mentally prepare ourselves as we drive when changes with the weather happen. This is important at any time of year, but especially during spring and summer when we’ll find more kids outside playing.
Expect to see kids darting out onto the road without much warning. To prepare ourselves, reduce your speed while traveling in areas that have kids. In many areas across Canada, school zones and park areas already have a reduced speed limit. Just because school may not be in session doesn’t mean you can increase your speed. Slow down so you can respond to these kids quicker. Also, stay away from parked vehicles as much as possible as kids can dart between them at any time, especially as they slide down a big snow pile.
Look for feet in front of parked vehicles well before you reach them. From a distance, you’ll have a good angle to spot them. When you get too close to the vehicle, it will be more difficult to spot those feet about to walk in front of you. Once you learn to anticipate their actions, you can help keep them safer.
Remember, there may be other drivers who are caught up with “spring fever” just like you who may not be paying much attention to their driving. Someone has to, so let’s put our safety in our own hands.