But, whether heading to the mountains or through the plains, warmer weather is not necessarily an indicator of safer roads. Though the blinding snowstorms may now be a thing of the past, new hazards begin to appear as another spring begins to bloom.
Consider these spring driving safety tips before you set out:
Spring means more water
If you live near the mountains, you know that flash floods and washed out roads are an unavoidable spring occurrence. As water can mix with oil and grease to make slick conditions, if you encounter rains or if you notice water running across the asphalt, slow down and be cautious. Pay careful attention to news bulletins to learn of local flooding events.
Sharing is caring
When the sun comes out, so do countless cyclists, motorcyclists and children. With more people out and about, take special care when driving to share the road with others. When driving through residential neighbourhoods slow down and look for playing children. When approaching a cyclist, always take caution when passing and allow them ample room.
Be careful with allergy medication
For those with allergies, the spring season can be a suffering experience. While antihistamines and other allergy medications may work wonders, take careful note of their side-effects before getting behind the wheel of a car. If you are planning to drive extensively, only take non-drowsy medications and understand their side-effects or how they can interact with other drugs.
Look for animals
With the spring thaw, many animals begin to come out of hibernation. Drowsy and hungry, wildlife can be disorientated and often cross roads looking for food. Even in perfect driving conditions, especially in the mountains, slow down and always be aware of your surroundings to prevent a collision with an animal.
Be prepared for bumps
Winters in Alberta are fierce, but they can also be balmy with the sudden onset of chinooks. After an entire season of freezing and thawing, roads can be scarred and marked with deep potholes and even sinkholes. Sometimes spring flooding can even wash an entire road out.
Always be on the lookout for bumps and cracks in the road when hitting the road this spring. Be extra cautious when approaching large puddles and consider testing the depth of them to ensure there are no nasty surprises hiding underwater. Also be aware that thawing road shoulders can be soft and muddy, and, as a consequence, may not support the full weight of your vehicle.
Take note of changing weather
Although spring is a time of sunshine and renewal, conditions may revert back to winter without warning. Before setting out on a trip, check in with local news stations to know what to expect around the corner. Sudden drops in temperature can create black ice, blinding snow squalls or walls of rain.
Have the right insurance
Ensure you and your family are properly protected with a careful look at your existing insurance policy. If you are switching vehicles or just want to check out your options, contact us for a quote or to get advice on your auto or home insurance.