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It is true that April Showers promise to bring May flowers, but our rainy Southern Ontario Springs can also bring treacherous driving conditions.

According to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database, April is definitely a transition month when it comes to weather.  Across Canada, in 2013 (the last year where statistics are available), there were 7,986 collisions in the month of April and 36% of those collisions happened when the weather conditions were not ideal (wet pavement, snow, rain or high winds).  In that same year, Canadians were involved in 122,090 collisions that year and 22% of them were during poor road conditions.

Here are 9 quick tips to make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained and ready for Spring…during the wet Spring months ahead.

Vehicle Maintenance

Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  Over or under inflated tires are not safe, can reduce fuel economy and increase the chance of hydroplaning on wet roads.  Stop in at any of our 4 London locations for a quick check.

Check your tire tread.  Most new passenger car tires have a tread depth of 10/32″ or 11/32″ (8 or 9 mm). While tires that have 2/32″ (0.6 mm) should be replaced, it is important to note that those tires can begin to lose their effectiveness long before that point.  Not sure where your tires stand?  Need the advise of an expert…come in to VIP for a Courtesy inspection of your tires!

Make sure you can see, and be seen.  Improve visibility by replacing worn wiper blades to ensure that you can see the road and other vehicles.  Check that your headlights, brake lights and all turn signals are operating so that other drivers can see you.  Take a few moments and wipe off your headlights occasionally as road dust and dirt can dramatically reduce the performance their effectiveness.

Test your brakes.  Watch and listen for the signs that your brakes are wearing out.  If you vehicle pulls to one side or you hear grinding or squealing when you brake, it is time to have your braking system thoroughly inspected immediately.  It may be time for a brake repair/replacement.

On the Road

Increase the distance between you and other vehicles when driving in rainy conditions.  It may seem like common sense but the rule of thumb is a 3 second spacing between you and the vehicle you are following but this increases up to 6 seconds in the rain.  Be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you…and make it safely to your destination.

Know what to do if your vehicle hydroplanes.  Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water gets between the tires and the road and the tires lose contact with the road.  If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, it is recommended that you take your foot of the gas pedal, and gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead until your vehicle regains traction.

Be careful of standing water.  It may seem like fun to run through puddles, but deep and large puddles could flood your engine and do significant harm to your vehicle.  If you can, drive around the puddles, running water or flooded streets.  If you can’t, proceed slowly so you can stop and back out if needed.

Watch out for potholes.  Winter weather leads to Canada’s Second Season…road construction.  Keep your eyes open for potholes that, if you hit them could seriously damage your vehicle.  Don’t swerve to avoid a pothole though, that could lead to an accident of a different sort.

Cheers and Safe Driving!

Otto