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Spring driving: Your complete guide

Spring is in the air, evenings are getting lighter and days are getting warmer.

While many of you are jumping for joy that winter has finally passed and dark and dreary mornings spent defrosting your car and avoiding black ice are a thing of the past, the new season brings with it fresh dangers.

Here are 7 top driving tips to keep you and your loved ones safe on the roads this spring.

1. Slow down for the impending spring showers
 
Spring time is a season of warmth and growth, but it’s not without the occasional rainstorm.

Did you know that roads are the most slippery when it first begins to rain? This is caused by the rainwater mixing with contaminants on the road, such as oil and grease.

Top tips for driving in rain

  • Keep your headlights on when driving in the rain to help increase visibility and help prevent accidents
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, as speeding in the rain can increase the risk of accidents
  • Braking times are doubled in the rain, so be sure to increase your following distance

Driving in the rain can be scary, so if you want to find out more, just head over to the RAC website and have a read of their top tips for driving in rain and floods.
 

2. Don't become victim to a pothole
 
After the harsh conditions of winter, potholes are a big problem come spring, making our roads look like a road adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey.

What's more, heavy rain can fill them with water, making them difficult to see.

These monsters can damage your car, leading to expensive repairs.

Top tips for avoiding potholes

  • Leave enough space between your car and the pothole
  • Keep to speed limits to avoid going too fast over potholes
  • Check your tyre pressure regularly to reduce the chance of damage
For more on potholes check out our guide on all you need to know about potholes.

3. Watch out for animals on the move
 
Animal activity is likely to increase during the spring. For some, this is mating season; and for others, they’re waking up from their long winter slumber.

It’s estimated that over 40,000 deer are killed every year in the UK from being hit by vehicles on the road. Whilst deer are more active between dusk and dawn, other animals are just as active throughout the day.

Top tips for dealing with animals on the road

  • When no other vehicles are on the road, put your full beams on – this will help you see wildlife sooner and can even help to scare off animals
  • Slow down and use extra caution when travelling through areas with a high and active wildlife population
  • If a collision is unavoidable, apply the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Swerving to avoid an animal can often cause a more serious crash or result in you losing control of your vehicle
For more tips on how to deal with animals on the road, head to the British Deer Society’s website where they have plenty of helpful tips to help you stay safe on the roads.

4. Protect your eyes from the sun's glare
 
Winter is in our rear-view mirror and bright, sunny days are ahead.

Most of us welcome the sun, but we might not always be the biggest fans of its glare when we're behind the wheel.

Did you know that the sun's glare can temporarily blind drivers and can be a huge risk on the road? And in case you needed reminding, temporary blindness never mixes well with operating a motor vehicle.

Top tips for dealing with the sun's glare

  • Pack a pair of sunglasses or a hat to keep your eyes shaded
  • Make sure your windscreen is clear from any smudges
  • Adjust your mirrors, even when the sun isn't directly in your line of sight, as the reflections can be even more troublesome
Want to find out more about driving in the sun? Head on over to MoneySuperMarket.com and have a read of their blog, How to drive in sun glare.

5. Prepare for those high pollen days 

Hay fever. For the non-sufferers among you, may seem like the odd sneeze here, the occasional scratchy throat there, and not much more.

But, for hay fever sufferers out there, you know just how bad it can be. The pressure in your head, the sore eyes… we won’t go into more detail.

When that pesky pollen count gets high, it can make everyday tasks much more difficult; driving included.

Top tips for driving with hay fever

  • Not all antihistamines are the same, so make sure your medication is non-drowsy before setting off
  • Always carry sunglasses, as they can stop the pollen getting in your eyes
  • Give your car a good spring clean and vacuum away all the dust
Want to find out more about driving with hay fever? IAM RoadSmart have pulled together some top tips to help you out during the worst of the hay fever season.

6. Check your tyres are in good nick

Ensuring your tyres are legal and roadworthy isn’t just a requirement to get the best grip and ride comfort from your car; it’s also a car safety check that should be completed regularly, especially coming into spring.

The winter months can play havoc on your tyres; losing air due to the cold temperatures leading to your tyres being under-inflated, whereas when warmer temperatures hit, your tyres can then become over-inflated. Each situation can lead to increased wear and poor handling.

Top tips for making sure your tyres are road-ready

  • Check your tyre pressure regularly to ensure they’re pumped up to a suitable level. It’s best to always check them before they’ve been used, as when they’re hot, the air pressure will increase
  • Check your tyre tread depth. The legal minimum depth is 1.6mm, but should really be changed once the tread depth reaches 3mm
  • Make sure there’s no damage to your tyres – anything like little nicks or just general wear and tear over time can result in dangerous situations arising if not fixed
Want to find out more about tyres? Check out our little guide filled to the brim with some of the latest tyre advice.

7. Beware of cyclists hitting the road

You might've seen the odd cyclist hit the roads through winter, but those number are about to multiply once the good weather arrives.

It might take a bit of effort to re-adjust to sharing the road with so many cyclists and motorcyclists after a long winter without many, but it’s important to stay alert.

Remember, they have just as much right to be on the road as any other vehicle. 
 

Top tips for sharing the road with cyclists

  • Leave ample room to overtake safely, the Highway Code already states that drivers have to leave a reasonable distance of 1.5 metres between their car and cyclists on the road
  • Don't forget to signal to let other road users know what's going on
  • Be polite. They might be slowing your journey down, but they're not trying to be annoying to you
Want to find out more? Have a read of Smart Motorists' top tips for sharing the road with cyclists.

And there you have it folks, our top tips on spring driving. Want to check out some of our other driving tips? Head on over to our Driving Tips hub and get in the know.

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