We’re just getting out of winter – so driving conditions are good again! Most people are looking forward to no longer having to deal with the dangers of winter driving in the Coeur d’Alene area. The snow, the ice, and the chemicals sprayed on the roads to facilitate melting are a thing of the past for a few months. But spring ushers in another series of driving hazards and poor road conditions.
Winter weather wrought havoc on local roads, the sand works its way up into your vehicle’s undercarriage, potentially causing problems, and the constant freezing and melting created potholes and frost heaves which are always a danger, causing accidents, tire blowouts, alignment issues, and more.
Perhaps the most blatant danger with spring driving is the rainy days and flooding issues. Rain contributed to 47% of all weather-related crashes from 1995 to 2008, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Spring runoff and rain can cause washed out roads, and the areas around the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe Rivers almost always see spring floods. Even mild flooding and puddles on the roads cut down on tire traction and can lead to hydroplaning. While you should always slow down for wet roads, it is also important to have good all-weather tires to help give better traction on wet roads.
North Idaho’s springs can bring torrents of rain while you drive, reducing visibility drastically. Malfunctioning or damaged windshield wipers can make your visibility even worse. Often, wiper blades will be covered in residue from the winter driving conditions or be damaged by freezing to your windshield over winter. Ensuring your windshield wipers are functioning, clean, and undamaged is important to driving safely this spring.
Another danger many people don’t think about when it comes to driving safely in the spring is animal activity. Animals are very active during the spring, as some are emerging from hibernation and others are entering their mating season. While animals are always a road hazard here in Idaho, it is especially important to watch out for them during the spring when they tend to be more active.Warmer weather also brings out the pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles as people begin gearing up for summer by getting out of their cars and feeling the warm weather without 2,000 pounds of metal surrounding them. Sharing the roads with pedestrians and cyclists can make driving more dangerous as you watch out for them when maneuvering on the road, making turns, and parking.
In Idaho, all studded tires must be removed by April 30. When you come in to Silverlake Automotive for your tire swap, it is a great time to have your spring vehicle safety check. Our experienced technicians will perform a thorough safety check and do any necessary maintenance to ensure your vehicle is ready for all driving conditions Coeur d’Alene’s spring weather will throw at you.