All seasons of the year pose challenges to drivers. In spring there are many factors that affect driving in different ways. On the one hand, it is usually a very changeable weather station, with rains and temperature changes. In addition, the sun begins to shine more strongly and life awakens from its winter lethargy, so there is a greater movement of animals and insects, and growth and flowering of plants, with an increase in pollen in the environment.
Not only are there natural factors that affect road traffic, it is also a time when travel increases, especially for weekend getaways; and where many events are held. With all these elements in the shaker, from Carglass Spain we want to launch a series of tips to make driving safer at this time of year.
1. Brightness changes
In spring we can experience all four seasons in the same day, with overcast skies, lots of sun and even hailstorms. Wearing good sunglasses in the car and knowing how to use the sun visors will help us to have a better vision and a more rested view. You should never use the liquid and the windshield wipers with the sun in your face, because for a long moment you will see almost nothing. This effect is accentuated, in gravity and time, with worn brushes.
2. Lots of rain
It is one of the times of the year with the most rainfall and it is the reduction in visibility, and not the lower adherence of the asphalt, that is the main culprit of the accident rate in the rain. Even with the windshield wipers on, the non-uniformity of the layer of water on the glass accounts for most of the reduction in visibility. This effect is multiplied if we have wiper blades in poor condition, if the windshield is damaged (impacts, cracks, scratches…), or if it has been stained with mud and grease that is usually on the road. The application of an anti-rain treatment such as the one offered by Carglass® Spain means that the drops of water barely touch the surface of the glass, forming “pearls” that quickly roll down the windshield until they disappear. On the other hand, and as it happens in summer, when it rains and the asphalt is very hot, steam comes out of it that can also affect good visibility.
3. Vegetation grows
The plants begin to grow and can make it difficult to see through areas (inside curves, medians, intersections, roundabouts…) where, in winter and without leaves, there is perfect visibility. We must be attentive to these changes in our daily routes, in which a car, motorcycle, cyclist or pedestrian can appear “out of nowhere”, because it was hidden behind the vegetation. On the other hand, the fruits and sticky resins of some trees can fall on the windshield when we are parked, and are difficult to clean.
4. Pollen appears
In spring, pollen levels in the air increase exponentially. Allergy sufferers know well how it can affect their vision (tears) and sneezing: doing it for five seconds at a time at 90 kilometers per hour means not paying attention to the road for more than 125 meters. We must check the pollen filter of our car and be attentive to the medication against allergies, because it can cause drowsiness. In addition, it can also create a layer of pollen on the windshield that must be cleaned well.
5. Animals on the road
Animal life is also active at this time of year, so the number of animals crossing the roads increases. If we run into one, it is better to run over it before carrying out a dangerous maneuver that could cause it to overturn or go off the road. Only if the animal is very large (a cow, horse or deer), it may be worth trying an evasive maneuver to avoid a dangerous impact.
6. More birds
The same thing happens with birds. If you are going to hit the windshield, you have to keep a cool head and not move the steering wheel: the glass will withstand the impact and we will only get a scare. Another side effect of birds occurs when we park under a tree, in the form of droppings that are difficult to clean (even with wipes and liquid) and make it difficult to see.
7. And more insects
Although there are fewer and fewer, in spring the number of insects that end up stamped against the windshield increases. You have to use the wipers regularly to avoid compromising visibility, and to prevent insect debris from drying out and damaging the wiper blades. And if this is not enough, you have to stop at a service station to clean the windshield thoroughly.
8. Start the dust in suspension
Just as it can be a week of rain, in spring there can also be many dry days. And with them, the dust appears in suspension. This powder sticks to the crystals and reduces vision. It is important to choose well when to use the windshield wipers to clean it, because the mud that forms on the windshield and the reflections of light will leave us blind for a few seconds.
9. Increase traffic
When the good weather arrives, weekend outings increase, and with them, road traffic. As always, patience at the wheel and understanding of drivers who are not used to driving on unfamiliar roads is recommended.
10. “BBC” Season of Events
Weddings, baptisms, communions, family reunions… In spring the “festival” of events begins, which can be translated into long caravans of family and friends on the roads; and in drivers who circulate under the influence of alcohol or drugs.