April Showers Bring May Flowers… and changing driving conditions! Spring is finally here which means it’s time to take off your winter tires, roll down the windows, and hit the roads in search of some warm weather enjoyment. As the weather improves people begin to head outdoors. This means increased motorcycle and bicycle traffic on the road, and more children playing outside. We all want to keep our roads safe, so here are some helpful hints and tips to help you do that:
1. Share the road – give cyclists at least one metre when passing and only pass when you have plenty of room to do so and an adequate viewplane. Generally speaking, this means no passing on turns, curves, or hills when your vision of oncoming traffic or road conditions is, or may be, hampered by road conditions or geography. Yield to cyclists travelling in marked bicycle lanes and make sure to check your blindspot before turning right to make sure there are no cyclists there.
2. If your vehicle of choice is a bicycle, make sure you always wear your helmet, obey the rules of the road, and wear bright clothing to make yourself more visible to motorists. If bicycling at night, ensure your bicycle has reflectors and lights on it to maximize visibility. You should also wear reflective clothing and lights on your person. If you don’t have any, stop into Wagners today to pick up a lighted armband to help make you more visible to road traffic in periods of low light and darkness.
3. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in Nova Scotia. Our two-wheeled friends take up less space on the road than a car or truck and as a result, they can be easy to miss. Be extra vigilant about checking your blind spots before changing lanes or merging into traffic. Use your mirrors and be aware of all other vehicles around you.
4. If you are a motorcyclist, be aware of other drivers and drive defensively, leaving adequate room to react if you are placed in a dangerous situation.
5. Spring is the season of the dreaded pot hole and in Nova Scotia we can get some real doozies. Giving yourself extra following room and remaining focused on your driving will give you more time to see and avoid potholes before you end up in them.
6. Heavy spring rains can soften gravel shoulders. If you have to pull off of a paved road surface, use extra care in doing so until you know what kind of surface you are driving upon.
7. Warm weather brings more children outside to play. Slow down and pay attention in residential and school zones. 50 km/hour speed zones reduce to 30 km/hour in a school zone when children are present. Take care and reduce your speed accordingly. Children engrossed in play may not be mindful of traffic. Slow down and be careful.
8. When travelling in rural areas, be mindful of increased animal traffic as winter hibernators wake up and get back to the business of looking for food.
9. Winter may be over, but springtime road cleanup is only just beginning. Leftover road sand and other debris from winter de-icing operations is still hanging around. Driving over this type of surface reduces your tire traction and can be slippery.
10. And finally, DON’T FORGET SUNSCREEN!