Tips for Driving in Spring Weather
Spring is here, which for many is a welcome relief to the snow, slush, and cold winter weather. Drivers sometimes see spring as a time when they can ease up on car maintenance and safety precautions. There’s no more frost on the road, the chance of snowstorms is pretty low, and no more gravel and salt is pounding the sides of your car when you drive.
But spring isn’t the time to slack on your safe driving efforts. Spring poses as many obstacles as winter does; it’s just not discussed as openly. The Kansas City area sees a lot of weather—sometimes extreme. You should never let the weather get the best of you, which is why it is essential to take the time with every new season to prepare your car or truck for an emergency. These safe driving tips can help you be prepared for whatever happens while you’re on the road.
Basic Safety Precautions to Take in Your Car or Truck
Below are some of the most basic safety steps you can take year-round, but with a focus on the spring. It is important to re-evaluate these safety steps from the context of spring weather.
- Never text and drive, and try to limit calls. Texting and driving is dangerous in all weather, and using your phone to make calls can also be hazardous. If you must make a call, use hands-free calling and voice-dialing. We recommend not making phone calls when you do not have to, and never making calls (even hands-free) in rain or high winds. In these weather conditions, it’s best to pull over before picking up your cell phone.
- Have, at a bare minimum, a state road map in your car. Technology is a powerful thing, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, it stops working when you most need it. Even if you don’t do too much driving, it’s a good idea to have a state road map in your car in case you get lost on a back road with little to no cell service. You can also carry a back-up battery for your cell phone and keep a charging cable in your car so your phone never goes dead.
- Pack a few water bottles and some granola bars in your car’s emergency kit. You never know when you’re going to need them! You could encounter an accident, need to pull over to avoid severe weather, someone you’re driving with might experience a drop in blood sugar, or you could just get hungry on the way back from the gym! At any rate, be sure to replenish your supplies each time you use them, and check expiration dates at least twice a year.
- Pack an emergency kit. All cars should have an emergency kit in them, regardless of the season. This spring, make sure your car’s first aid kit is restocked (or, purchase a first aid kit if you don’t have one). Then, make sure you have a blanket, flashlight, tarp, emergency rain protection, spare batteries, a candle and lighter, and signaling devices (such as flares, glow sticks, or cones.) Each season, be sure to optimize your emergency kit to deal with that season’s weather obstacles.
Tips for Driving Through Kansas City’s Spring Weather
Driving through the city and driving through the country are two different situations. Drivers who are confident driving through the variable spring weather on Kansas country roads can run into trouble when it comes to driving through the city. However, at its core, there are a few driving tips that do transfer from country spring driving to city spring driving—they just must be applied in different ways.
When driving through rain, wind, and inclement weather in Kansas City (or any other metropolitan area):
- Be sure to maintain at least a car’s distance (preferably two) between you and the vehicle in front of you. Rain impairs your car’s ability to slow down quickly, and putting distance between you and the vehicle in front of you prevents accidents.
- Make sure your headlights are on. Headlights are almost more important in the city than they are in the country because they help other drivers see you when a lot is going around them. Of course, if it’s dark on back roads, you will definitely need your headlights, and possibly your high beams to see down the road without the help of streetlights.
- Find the nearest parking lot and pull over if rain becomes too heavy to see correctly. Do not pull over to the side of a busy road or intersection, as this increases your risk of getting hit. Be sure to use your turning signals when you pull off into the parking lot.
- Find alternate routes to and from work that don’t involve driving through potholes. City potholes can get massive with all the traffic they receive, and your driving over them is only making them bigger and putting your car at risk for damage.
Don’t Forget Spring Vehicle Maintenance.
Vehicle maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your spring weather driving is safe. Winter takes a toll on your car. Between the condition of the roads and the consistent fluctuation in temperature, checking your tires becomes a priority. However, here are some other basic maintenance tasks you should perform in the spring:
- Test your car battery, clean the terminals, and replace it if necessary.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. This should be done in early spring, as rains are likely to pick up in mid-spring. If you are reading this now and have yet to change your wiper blades, do it today!
- Check your tire pressure, and swap out winter tires if necessary.
- Check your oil. It’s likely been a while since you changed it (after all, many people choose to drive less in winter), and it probably needs replacing. If it is low, add some oil. Then, make an appointment for an oil change.
- Spring clean your car! It’s incredible how much dust, salt, and trash can accumulate over the winter. Regular interior cleaning keeps your vehicle in good condition for resale and generally more pleasant to drive.
If your car needs spring vehicle maintenance, don’t hesitate to bring it to Zeck Ford for a tune-up you can trust. You don’t need to have a Ford vehicle to schedule an appointment. We work on all makes and models. Click here to set up an appointment and make sure your car is road-ready.
If last winter took a toll on your car and you think it might be time for a new one, Zeck Ford in Leavenworth can help. Click here to browse our selection of new vehicles, or click here to check out our used cars. Our personal shoppers can help you get a great deal on a new ride and back on the road in no time.