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We are finally into our Spring season in Western Pennsylvania.   Driving is such a joy when the sun is shining, birds are chirping and flowers are beginning to bloom.  Along with those lovely signs of spring comes serious hazards that can put you, and others, at risk while behind the wheel.  Spring seasons brings people outdoors, heavy rain storms and the emergence of serious potholes all around our region.

Keep these driving tips in mind when behind the wheel:

Spring showers bring wet and slick driving conditions: Slow down on slick roads…period.  A small amount of rain can cause very slick driving conditions due to the oil and grease present on road surfaces.  You should allow for at least two full additional seconds of stopping time in the rain.  And don’t forget to turn on your headlights AND windshield wipers when it’s raining.

Don’t get distracted:  Don’t forget that while you are looking at the scenery you are 100% responsible for operating your vehicle.  Keep the volume of your radio at a reasonable level and try turning your phones off.  With children out playing and more people out and about after a long winter hibernation, one less distraction will keep everyone safe.

Observe road crews and work zones:  We love to hate this time of the year with delays while traveling due to road work.  Be alert to speed limits, pay attention to work zone restrictions and always watch for sudden stops while driving through a work zone.  With a little patience and extra travel time you will still arrive at your destination safely.

Pay attention to the speed limit:  Speed limits are posted for a reason.  A speed limit sign represents the recommended and safe driving speed for the specific road you are on.     

School is still in session:  Don’t forget to pay attention to a school zone’s reduced speed limits, crossing guards and buses dropping of students.

Share the road:  Warm weather increases the likelihood of seeing many motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians on the roads and outdoors.

Watch for potholes:  Potholes can throw your car out of alignment or worse, forcing you to buy a new wheel and a new tire.  Damage to your auto caused from driving through a pothole is covered under “collision” under your auto insurance and is considered an “at fault” occurrence.  TIP:  Check your tires regularly.  Properly inflated tires can significantly reduce damage.

Avoid driving through large puddles:  Driving through water can impact how your brakes function, temporarily blind your vision, or cause you to hydroplane.  If you are approaching standing water simply try to slow down if you can.  This will also protect drivers around you from being blinded by a spray of water from your vehicle.

Don’t Forget to Buckle Up!