Spring Driver Awareness 2023
Just like everyone else in Alberta, at iDrive Alberta, we love spring and warmer weather. With spring here, we also recognize that the season of warmer weather comes with a greater risk to all road users. From a road safety perspective, the latest statistics from the Alberta Government show that almost 20% of all fatal collisions in Alberta occur in the spring between April and June. Fortunately, with some good driver behaviour, that number can be reduced. For example:
Spring Vehicle Awareness:
- Replace windshield wiper blades that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe. Keep in mind, most wiper blades should be replaced every 6 months.
- Keep your washer fluid reservoir topped up to always at least half full.
- To ensure visibility during bad weather, keep all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals clean and functioning. (For increased safety, turn on your headlights whenever you drive.)
- Keep your tires properly inflated and make sure they have plenty of tread.
- Keep winter tires on until the ambient temperature stays above 7 degrees Celsius.
Spring Pedestrian Awareness:
- Be aware of pedestrians who may be fixated on their electronic devices and aren’t paying attention to other road users.
- Slow down and be extra cautious in pedestrian corridors and playground zones.
- If a yellow pedestrian-activated traffic light is flashing, slow to 30 km/h and be prepared to yield to pedestrians wanting to cross the street.
Spring Animal Awareness:
- Spring is that time of year when animals come out of hibernation and are out foraging for food.
- Be alert for animal-crossing signs, reduce your speed, look well ahead and scan aggressively.
- Animals like deer often move in groups. If you pass one animal, slow down because there may be more.
- Be aware that some animals are more active at dawn and dusk.
- It’s not just on a country drive that you need to scan for animals, in urban areas you still need to be on the lookout, as you could encounter animals roaming near parks, wooded areas, river valleys, open green space, or city outskirts.
Spring Melting and Rain Awareness:
- When conditions are wet, drive at a speed so that you can easily control your vehicle.
- On wet roads, increase space to maintain a following distance of four to six seconds.
- Never use cruise control on wet or slippery roads.
- Never try to cross the flooded section of a road, as the pavement underneath may be washed out. Instead, turn around and look for an alternate route.
- To reduce the risk of hydroplaning, reduce your speed, avoid any sharp steering or hard braking and when possible, drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you.
- When encountering excessive water on the road, avoid driving through large puddles. Deep water can stall your engine, hamper your brakes and damage your vehicle.
Spring Awareness for Other Road Users:
- Be aware of cyclists, scooters and motorcycles. Watch for bike lanes and always mirror check, and check your blind spot, prior to all lateral movement.
- When turning left, scan for oncoming cyclists or motorcycles. Motorcyclists can be hard to see, especially in heavy traffic or at night, and are often moving at a faster speed than it appears.
- Give road maintenance crews plenty of space and adhere to all posted speed limit signs in those areas.
- When driving in construction zones, always obey the flag person’s signal and be prepared to slow down and/or stop when entering work zones. (When workers are present, fines for speeding in construction zones are double.)
Final Tips for Spring Driving:
- Keep your windshield washer fluid topped up.
- Use low-beam headlights in the rain or fog.
- Reduce speed and increase space in wet weather.
- If you can’t avoid a pothole, brake just before impact.
- In urban areas, scan at least 12 seconds (1 block ahead) of your vehicle.
- In rural areas, scan at least 20 seconds (3/4km ahead) of your vehicle.
- Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots (particularly semi-trucks and other large vehicles).
- Signal your intentions and drive to conditions.
- On long road trips, schedule a break about every two hours
If wanting more tips on spring driving, why not book a two-hour brush up lesson to increase your driver awareness.