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Spring is here and April showers bring May flowers but they also bring wet driving conditions! As you prepare to hit the road this spring, consider the following advice to make sure you stay safe.

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VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

If you are one of those people who only clean your vehicle once a year, now is the time to do it. After months of winter neglect a thorough clean will help to reduce the risk of long-term corrosion damage, due to salt/grit used on the roads during the winter months.

Give your car a good wash, check all your levels ie. oil and washer fluid, and check your tyre pressure and tread to ensure your car is in a suitable condition for driving.

Old wiper blades are not only noisy; they can leave marks on the windscreen, so remember to replace them regularly. Clean them regularly to avoid damaging your windscreen.

SPRING SUN

Winter and spring sunlight can present drivers with an unexpected hazard. The angle of the sun in the sky will frequently be too low for your visor to be able to help. If you are blinded by glare, reduce your speed. Reduce the effect of glare by keeping both the inside and outside of your windscreen clean and grease free.

APRIL SHOWERS

Wet conditions can be hazardous and even drivers with local knowledge can be caught out during heavy downpours, as the most modern road surface is still susceptible to standing water.

Standing water creates a potential aquaplaning hazard as well as reducing visibility. Take it easy through standing water and if the steering does become unresponsive due to the rain, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.

WATCH THE ROAD

The freezing weather over the winter and subsequent thawing damages the road surface and causes potholes. Be cautious, especially of puddles of water which could be hiding a pothole. The impact caused by driving in a pothole can result in axle and suspension damage/failure and damage to tyres and wheels.

THINK BIKE

Now the weather is starting to warm up and the mornings and evenings are getting lighter more and more cyclists will be taking to the roads. Be aware at all times, when pulling out of roads check, check and check again before completing your manoeuvre. Also some cyclists listen to iPods and may not hear you approaching from behind, when over taking them give the cyclist plenty of space and be aware of oncoming traffic.

BE CHILD AWARE

The warmer weather and the lighter evenings inevitably bring more children out. Be aware that they are usually engrossed in chatting to their friends and may not be paying particular attention to what is going on around them. Also be aware that they may be wearing headphones and may not hear you coming from behind, always slow down when approaching.

BE ANIMAL AWARE

Now spring is coming, many animals will be coming out of hibernation. Be alert as they will not be. They will be groggy and busy thinking about looking for food. Slow down in rural areas, as taking evasive action to avoid a collision at speed can be dangerous as can hitting an animal. Motorists have lost their lives doing both.

Spring often sees more horse riders on the roads and let’s face it, it may seem like a bit of a nuisance but horses have as much right to the road as drivers, after all, they came first! Slow down and be ready to stop if necessary and

  • Look out for riders’ signals to slow down or stop
  • Watch out for sudden movements, horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable
  • Don’t sound your horn or rev your engine
  • Pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them.
  • On roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will normally signal right only when approaching exits they don’t intend to use
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