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Slow and easy the key to safe spring driving
Spring in Manitoba can mean wet, slippery roads. And wet, slippery roads can lead to dangerous driving conditions.
“Thousands of collisions and many injuries happen every year because drivers don’t adjust their driving to the road conditions,” said Clif Eden, manager of road safety programming for Manitoba Public Insurance.
“Most of these collisions and injuries are completely preventable.”
In wet conditions, the average stopping distance for most automobiles is twice what it is on a dry road. Throw in poor visibility caused by a dirty windshield or bad weather and stopping distance can be even greater.
To stay safe and avoid a collision, special precautions are needed. Here are some spring driving tips that will help to keep you and your family safe:
- Slow down and leave extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. It takes longer to stop or adjust on wet, dirty roads. In particular, don’t follow large trucks or busses closely. The spray from their wheels will dirty your windshield and reduce your visibility.
- Replace old or brittle windshield wipers. Worn wipers won’t clear water and grit from your windshield, causing streaking and smearing that could dangerously obstruct your view.
- Make sure your running lights or headlights are on when driving on dark, overcast, foggy days.
- Stay in the middle lanes as much as possible. Water tends to pool in the curb lanes.
- Avoid puddles by driving around them or taking a different route. If you have to drive through standing water on a road and you don’t know how deep it is or what’s underneath, go slow. If it’s deeper than the bottom of your doors, turn around and find another route. Deep water can ruin your car’s electrical system, and an unseen pothole or obstruction can cause hundreds, even thousands of dollars in damage to your car.
- After driving through water, your brakes can lose some of their stopping power. When traffic allows, pump your brakes lightly a few times to dry the brake linings.
- Please don’t splash pedestrians. Being splashed with a wave of cold, dirty water isn’t much fun.
Eden added, “As the old saying goes, ‘it’s not rocket science.’ To stay safe when road conditions aren’t the greatest, slow down and take some extra precautions. It could prevent a collision or something far worse.”
For more information on safe driving, visit www.mpi.mb.ca.