The days are getting longer and those dark winter mornings you spent scraping the windscreen are now a distant memory. It’s tempting to think if Spring as a dry season simply because it isn’t winter. But April showers and strong winds can cause all kinds of challenges for motorists.
Here are some of our top tips to stay safe on the roads this Spring.
Rain and water
- Rainwater can make the road surface slippery, especially if it’s mixed with oil. It’ll take you longer to come to a stop on slippery surfaces, so make sure you give yourself plenty of space
- Ensure your tyre tread stays within legal limits, even when parked
- Look for signs of wear and tear on your wiper blades. To help with your visibility, use windscreen wash rather than just water
- Watch out for flooded roads. If the surface water looks too deep to drive through, or if you’re not sure, stop and find an alternative route. If it’s passable, keep a safe distance to avoid bow waves from other cars and test your brakes as you exit the flooded area
- Beware of aquaplaning, which is a loss of contact with the road due to surface water. If you lose control of your vehicle’s steering and braking, remain calm, keep a low speed and ease off the brake and accelerator until your tyres are touching the road again
- Keep an eye out for potholes that might have formed over the winter months. Hitting one at speed can cause damage to your vehicle. If you do hit one, try not to brake too sharply. Make sure your tyres are inflated to their optimum pressure to also reduce the risk of punctures.
- Strong winds can blow all kinds of things into the road, from branches and other debris to pedestrians and cyclists. Pay attention to which direction the wind is coming from and look for potential hazards
- Take care when driving alongside high-sided vehicles. They’ll shield you from the wind, but you may be hit by a sudden gust when you’ve passed them
- Make sure you give yourself enough distance to stop if you need to react quickly.
Sun and brightness
- The low spring sun can cause glare on your windscreen. Try cleaning the inside of it with water and detergent and then drying it with a microfibre cloth to minimise the effect
- Use your visor if you need to, adjust your mirrors and wear sunglasses
- Always be alert – just because you’re prepared for it doesn’t mean that other road users are.
Animals and atmosphere
- Spring sees a lot of animals taking their first steps into the world and newborns can sometimes escape their enclosures. Be extra careful when driving on rural roads – slow down and don’t rev your engine if you see an animal
- If you suffer from hayfever or other allergies, make sure any medication you take is non-drowsy. Take all necessary precautions and change the pollen filter in your car regularly to avoid streaming eyes while you’re behind the wheel.
- Check that your windscreen and bodywork is free from cracks, chips or damage
- Check your electrics – turn on all your lights and walk around the car to make sure they are all working
- Keep your tyres inflated – check the pressures and ensure your tread stays within legal limits, even when parked
Every 2 weeks
- Keep the battery in condition by starting the engine. Keep it running for around 30 minutes to let the battery charge up, but make sure you do this in an open space, not a garage as the fumes can be toxic
- It’s a good idea to top the fuel tank, it helps to stop moisture from getting in and stops the pipes and seals from drying out too much
- Check your coolant, oil and screen wash levels
- If you have a diesel, try to take it for a drive (within government guidelines)
Even with these steps, if you haven't driven your car in a while, it’s possible you could find that your battery or tyres are flat when you next come to use it.
Time for a spring clean?
- Wash off all the winter grime and salt and give your car a good check over
- Check and clean your tyres and make sure you’ve got plenty of grip
- Top up your washer fluid
- Make sure your wiper blades are working and don’t have any damage