Hello and greeting from District 7 and the east side of the state. I hope this note finds everyone well. Punxsutawney Phil could not find his shadow and as the legend goes, this means we’re in for an early spring. Phil I’m going to hold it to ya. It will be great to wake up to birds singing. The first signs of spring are here. As I type this, I hear a few birds outside my window with the days getting longer and the temperatures starting to lift, trees starting to bud, the entrancing smell of spring with the flowers, warmer weather, and misty mornings that fill the air. What else lets me know spring is near are all the potholes and trying to avoid the craters. But the local tire shop likes the potholes. With spring around the corner, slow down on wet roads.
Rain is a big deal and the deadliest weather-related driving hazard. There’s plenty of it at this time of year with spring showers making roads slick when water mixes with oil on the pavement. The first ten minutes of light rain can be the most dangerous for hydroplaning. When tires slide across a wet surface, particularly at speeds above 35 mph, according to the American Safety Council. Slow down and increase your following distance with the car ahead to five seconds when driving in rain, advises Edmunds. Also, add an extra second for each additional challenge, like driving after dark. Avoid standing water and large puddles. Stay away from the outer lanes where water accumulates and try to drive in the tracks left by vehicles ahead. Replace wiper blades. Rain presents the hazard of reduced visibility, so check your wiper blades for wear and replace them if they’re not up to the important job of keeping your windshield clear. Inflate tires. Tires typically lose pressure in winter and it’s a good idea to get out the pressure gauge to see if they need inflating to the recommended level, often indicated on the sticker in the driver’s door.
Share the road with cyclists and pedestrians. More people are choosing to walk, run and cycle to stay active, carry out errands or as an alternative to driving to work, especially when the warmer weather arrives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Treat bicyclists as you would other drivers, and remember pedestrians have rights on the road, too, particularly at crosswalks, says the NHTSA.
Watch for animals. Animals are also brushing off the cobwebs and getting out and about in the spring weather, which can pose dangers if they stray onto highways. Slow down so you can stop safely if animals are in the area and be extra vigilant at dawn and dusk.
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