This May, you can take a proactive approach to roadway safety, reducing your chances of being involved in a car accident. In addition to obeying traffic laws and never drinking and driving, there are a few ways you can stay safe as you take to the roads for school, work, or fun.
1. Watch for Unpredictable Weather!
May is a month when we see a lot of unpredictable weather in Pennsylvania. We might have rain, and then sunshine, then a thunderstorm, strong winds, and then sunshine again. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on weather reports and to be prepared for anything by packing an emergency kit and putting it in your vehicles, just in case. Your kit should include water, blankets, flashlights and flares, jumper cables, food, a cell phone charger, a first-aid kit, necessary medicine, and other items you might need.
If you’re already on the road and the weather becomes so severe that you do not feel comfortable driving, you have the option of pulling over and waiting it out.
2. Keep Your Distance
Maintaining a safe following distance is a key part of safe driving in any weather and at any time of the year. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends a distance of at least three seconds between vehicles, but you should increase this distance when road or weather conditions are less than ideal. To determine your following distance, pick a stationary object like a tree or road sign. When the vehicle in front of you passes the object, start counting slowly (one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, etc.) to see how long it takes until you pass the object. Keep that distance to at least 3 seconds. It should be longer for heavy trucks, in poor weather, and for vehicles that are towing trailers.
Having enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front can help you avoid an accident in the event of an emergency.
3. Warmer Weather Means More Pedestrians & Cyclists
May weather will bring more pedestrians and cyclists, and as a motorist, you must be aware of these people and share the road with them. Recognize when they have the right of way and yield accordingly. Be particularly mindful of pedestrians in places like parking lots, driveways, and busy city streets. Give cyclists at least four feet if you are passing them on the road.
4. Schools Are Still Open; Take Care Near Campuses & Crosswalks
Spring break is over, and most schools are open through most or all of May, so you’ll need to exercise caution near campuses, at crosswalks, and in other areas where students and families are present. Slow down, keep your eyes open, and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. If you’re dropping your kids off, don’t park across the street from the school, and don’t double park. If you spot a stopped school bus, remember that it’s illegal to pass at all if the red lights are flashing. That means it is loading or unloading students, and you must stop and wait until the red lights stop flashing.
5. Check Your Tires & Windshield Wipers
With the unpredictable and sometimes severe weather we see during the spring, checking your tires and windshield wipers is a great way to make sure your car is prepared for anything. Low tire pressure or worn-out tires can increase the chances of hydroplaning in the rain and can affect stopping distance. Defective or old wipers can make it nearly impossible to see in the rain. Check and change your wiper blades and tires if they need it. If you haven’t had your car serviced already, May is a great time to get your vehicle checked by your mechanic or the service department at your dealership. Your mechanic will know what your car needs, depending on mileage and other factors, to operate right.
6. Stay Alert: Avoid Distractions & Don’t Drive While Tired
Of course, you never want to drive while distracted or get behind the wheel while you’re tired. Paying full attention is one of the best ways to avoid car accidents in May and all year long, because it only takes an instant to get yourself in a situation where you cause an accident or lose valuable time that could have been spent avoiding a crash. Texting, entering an address in your navigation system, eating, drinking, and putting on make-up are just a few of the distractions that should be avoided. If you’re tired from lack of sleep or another factor like an over-the-counter or prescription medicine, you shouldn’t drive. Fatigue can be just as dangerous as distractions or even drunk driving, as it affects reaction time, judgment, and even vision.
When you’re driving, you should always focus on the task at hand.
Ask a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer
Sometimes accidents happen, even when we are careful and put safety first. If this has happened to you or someone you know, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC is standing by to offer our help. We represent clients across Pennsylvania who have been harmed in car, truck, motorcycle, and other motor vehicle accidents, and we’ve been doing so for the past 100 years. We know the roads, the laws, and the ways that we can make a difference for our clients as they work to rebuild and move on with their lives. Call our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys today at (888) 498-3023 for a free consultation!