May 10, 2017
Things To Consider For Ontario Spring Driving
Did you know that there’s a correlation between the switchover to Daylight Savings and a rise in road-related incidents? When we think ‘time change’, we usually think that the surge in road incidents relates to ending Daylight Savings in the Fall.
But according to some recent studies our sleep suffers when we change the clocks forward and that translates into more accidents. In fact, this CBC article says that there’s a 20% increase in car accidents in Manitoba and this is true in other places too, on the Monday clocks were moved forward an hour, compared to other Mondays in 2014.
As Canadian drivers, we have to be extra careful in winter driving conditions . But there are many reasons to be careful in Spring too. Who knew that Daylight Savings would be one of them? We offer these tips to help you, and the people you share the road with, to stay safe this Spring.
Top 15 Spring Driving Tips
1. Be Aware Of Children Playing In The Streets
The arrival of better weather and the switch to Daylight Savings Time means more children are playing outside on the street – during rush hour traffic and late afternoon. Whether it’s kicking a ball around or riding bikes, children’s movements can be sudden and unpredictable.
2. Watch For Runners – Anticipate Their Path
Spring brings runners – many who are focused on preparing for that 5k run or marathon. Often using an iPod and earplugs, they may be less aware of you than you are of them. Anticipate their path and slow down when going around or turning near them.
3. Watch For Motorcyclists
After many months of cold-weather driving, many Ontario drivers aren’t used to the sudden presence of motorcycles on the roads. Motorcyclists can often accelerate faster and may seem to “appear out of nowhere” for drivers who aren’t watching for them. Particular attention needs to be paid to your mirrors and blind spots when changing lanes.
4. Share The Road With Cyclists – Do Extra Checks With Your Mirrors
Cyclists are out enjoying the Spring weather too. Before turning, stopping or proceeding, check your rear view mirrors to spot their location. When passing on the road, give them plenty of room. If you’re approaching a busy intersection, slow down in the event that a cyclist may be turning left in front of you.
5. Be Alert For Animals
The advent of better weather means animals coming out of hibernation and even domesticated animals out on the run. Some animals are more active at dawn and dusk. Be on the lookout for them roaming on or near city streets.
Here are some handy tips from the Wildlife Collision Prevention website on how to reduce your risks of being in a collision with an animal.
6. Residual Sand And Stopping Distance
We think of slippery road conditions especially in winter driving with snow and ice. But in the Spring, drivers need to watch for sand that has been put down to increase car tire grip in winter. Once snow and ice has melted, residual sand actually creates slippery conditions. Leftover sand requires a greater braking distance in Spring driving. Remember to brake earlier and more gently when you see sand on the roads.
7. Don’t Change Your Winter Tires Too Soon
Your winter tires add extra grip in cold weather conditions. Don’t let Spring fool you. It can bring all kinds of temperatures and weather – at times dipping below freezing. Winter tires perform better on days when the temperatures are below 7 Celsius. So be on the safe side and wait a little long before you put your summer or all season tires back on.
8. Prepare For Changing Weather – Plan For Extra Driving Time For Your Travels
Winter may be gone according to the calendar but we’ve known Mother Nature to blow in a cold front late March or early April. That makes for a freeze-thaw cycle that can quickly change road conditions. Add extra driving time to a trip so you aren’t rushing unnecessarily.
9. Watch Out For Potholes On City Streets And Expressways
New potholes on the road are a leftover hazard from winter conditions. Anticipate and note potholes along your commute. Did you know that during the last 3 years the City of Toronto has repaired an average of 237,000 potholes?
Be a responsible citizen and report potholes when you see them. You can report a pothole online or call 311. The City of Toronto’s website claims to repair potholes within four days of them being reported. You’ll help keep another car damage-free.
NOTE: If your car is damaged as the result of a pothole on a Toronto street, you can make a claim for property damage or injury. You can find more information about making a claim on Toronto.ca.
10. Beware Of Gravel Shoulders
Winter runoff and melting snow can cause gravel shoulders to be much softer than usual. Slow down and steer gently onto a shoulder if you need to pull over for some reason. Also watch for gullies created by water runoff.
11. Stay Focused On Your Driving – Don’t Let Yourself Get Distracted By Beauty
Spring is a beautiful season – a time when trees are budding, the grass is greening up and shrubs are coming back to life. Don’t let your attention wander from the road to take in the Spring sights.
12. Spring Road Construction And Closures
Slow down in construction zones. Remember that there are workers on the roads. Better to travel slowly and be safe than travel too quickly and cause an accident with another vehicle or a construction worker.
Check for Road Closures – Anticipating road closures can save you a lot of time and frustration.
13. Plan Your Route Before You Leave
Check with Google Maps to plan your trip ahead. The app gives you current road conditions including accidents, slow downs and construction on Toronto Roads. Google Maps also gives you alternatives and route times in case your usual route is at a standstill.
14. Give Your Vehicle A Spring Tune-Up
Ontario winters can be hard on vehicles. The cold temperatures, snow, slush, salt and road grit can cause accelerated wear and tear on a vehicle. Check things like your fluid levels, brakes and wiper blades to make sure everything is in good order. If you are not a mechanical person, many garages have affordable spring tune up packages.
Another Ontario winter vehicle concern is a nasty four letter word vehicle owners hate to hear - rust. The salt can be particularly harsh on older vehicles that are more prone to rusting. Check your vehicle over thoroughly to see if it has developed any rust spots over the winter. If there are some it’s best to get them repaired before the rust spreads and causing a bigger and more expensive repair.
15. Make Sure Your “Summer-Only” Car Is Ready To Drive
Some drivers are fortunate enough to own a summer car and a winter car. Make sure it is road ready for you to safely enjoy in the nicer weather. Check things like the battery, fluids, lights, brakes and tire pressure. Have your mechanic check it over if you are not a mechanically inclined.
Also, it’s a good idea to double check your insurance pink slip and vehicle registration to ensure they are valid and up to date.
Drive Safe This Spring
We don’t associate ‘risks’ with Spring driving. And yet, there are many hazards that we need to be aware of. From rapidly changing weather to wet and slippery road to increased pedestrian traffic and larger numbers of domestic and wild animals outside, there are numerous distractions and challenges that can result in accidents and damage. By following some of these tips and giving full attention to your driving, we can all make the roads safer for everyone—pedestrians, runners, and cyclists.
Read More Tips On Safe Driving
Top 15 Tips For Winter Driving In Ontario With Videos
15 Fall Driving Tips - Enjoy The Ontario Fall Roads While Staying Safe
11 Tips To Avoid Being A Distracted Driver
Winter Tires 101 : How They Benefit Ontario Drivers And Road Safety
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