Thankfully, Montana’s unusually long and harsh winter is behind us, the spring season is now in full swing. Although many people believe favorable weather conditions and warmer temperatures lead to improved driving conditions compared to the freezing winter months, there are several hazards associated with spring that result in car accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.
The following are common reasons why spring driving is dangerous:
- Spring showers – When the rain and hail start to fall during storms, the roads become slippery and sleek since the rainwater mixes with oil, grease, and other contaminants on the asphalt, it can be difficult to properly maneuver a vehicle. Rain is the most common cause of weather-related car accidents due to wet road conditions. Whenever you drive in the rain, travel slower than usual and increase your stopping distance between you and other vehicles.
- Potholes – The inclement weather during winter can take an immense toll on the road, causing potholes to form. Driving over them, especially at high speeds, can lead to damage to your car and even collisions. Do your best to avoid potholes. If you can’t due to traffic conditions, then reduce your speed when driving over them.
- More pedestrians – From children playing to adults exercising, favorable weather conditions are associated with an increase in foot traffic, especially in residential neighborhoods and busy areas. Whenever you drive near heavy foot traffic, slow down and be mindful to pedestrians and bicyclists.
- More motorcycles – While motorcycles are faster and smaller compared to passenger vehicles, they lack the protection afforded to drivers. Motorcycle accidents often result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. This is particularly true in Montana, where many motorcyclists do not wear helmets because Montana is one of the few states that does not legally require adult motorcycle operators to wear helmets. Whenever motorcycles are on the road, be mindful of where they’re going and increase your following distance to give them plenty of space to ride. Because motorcycles are smaller and less common on the road than vehicles, motorists frequently fail to notice motorcycles. Hoyt and Blewett PLLC currently represents a young man who suffered a catastrophic brain injury in a motorcycle accident when a motorist failed to yield the right of way and turned his truck directly in front of our client on a two-lane highway. Tragic collisions like this underscore how important it is for motorists to keep a close eye for motorcycles.
- More bicycles – One of the best ways to take in the beauty of big sky country is on a bicycle. For this reason, in the summer months, many bicycles take to Montana’s streets, roads and highways. It is important for motorists to be on the lookout for bicyclists and to give bicyclists as much space as possible when passing them.
- Animals – There is a significant increase in animal activity in the spring, meaning animals will likely cross the roads more than ever. The risk of collisions with animals are especially high at dusk and in the evening when deer are more active and more difficult to see.