Spring has officially arrived, although it may not feel like it quite yet. As the winter thaw begins, there are more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather.

Cuming & Gillespie LLP would like to remind everyone of the importance of exercising safe practices during the spring season with these tips from our personal injury legal team.

  1. Be Careful on the Road

With the arrival of spring, many drivers prematurely arrange to have their winter tires changed.  It is important to be aware that winter tires tend to lose their grip when outdoor temperatures climb above 7 degrees Celsius. Therefore, experts recommend that winter tires should be removed when day-time highs consistently hover around the 7 degree Celsius mark.  As late season snowfalls are common across Alberta, be sure to check your long range forecast before having your tires changed.

Flooding during the spring is not uncommon due to heavy rain, warming temperatures, and melting snow. The presence of water on the roads can unknowingly increase your vehicle’s speed and put you and your vehicle at risk of an accident.

Wet roads can be just as difficult to navigate as icy ones.  It is highly recommended that drivers increase the distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them and to drive slower during spring showers. Once water is sitting on the roadway, a hydroplane accident may occur at any time, especially if you are speeding.

Before you hit the road this spring, follow these tips to help you arrive safely:

  • Replace worn tires and/or properly inflate your tires;
  • Clean windows and replace worn wiper blades;
  • Check all lights, including headlights, taillights, back up lights, brake lights, parking lights and turn signals; and
  • Do not use cruise control during heavy rain.
  1. Be Aware of Pedestrians

Warmer weather means that more people will be venturing outside. It is important that motorists slow down and exercise extra caution in pedestrian corridors, playground zones, and school zones.

In Alberta, drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians. Drivers are obligated to operate their vehicle lawfully, yield to pedestrians and consider how the weather conditions can affect the ability to operate their vehicle safely. Failing to follow these obligations may result in serious injury to a pedestrian and potential liability.

Given the popularity of electronic devices, it is especially important for motorists to be aware of pedestrians who are not paying attention to traffic and are looking down at their smart phones.

  1. Share the Road

As the weather continues to improve, more Alberta residents will be bicycling to get to work, for exercise, or for recreation. Bicycles share the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles according to the Use of Highways and Rules of Road Regulation. Therefore, it is important that bicyclists and motorists be alert and attentive to keep everyone safe on our roadways.

There will also be more maintenance crews on roadways as the weather continues to improve. Always obey the flag person’s signal in construction zones and be prepared to slow down or stop.

  1. Do A Helmet Check

According to the Vehicle Equipment Regulation found in Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act, no person under the age of 18-years shall operate or ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless that person is properly wearing a safety helmet.

It is also important that children wear helmets when riding anything with wheels. Helmets should be worn when children are using scooters, skateboards, bicycles, tricycles or rollerblades to keep them safe.

A well-fitted helmet sits just above the eyebrows and the fastening straps create a V-shape that surrounds the ears and is fastened under the chin. Helmets should be properly certified and snug enough that they will not rock back and forth on the child’s head.

Despite the fact that the law does not require cyclists who are 18-years of age or older to wear a helmet, it is strongly encouraged that helmets be worn by cyclists of all ages to prevent brain injuries or severe damage to the skull.

  1. Be Aware of Wildlife

We are approaching the time of year when animals come out of hibernation and begin foraging for food. As we have previously noted in our blog, wildlife are active all day, but most wildlife motor vehicle accidents occur between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Be aware of animal-crossing signs and be sure to reduce your speed and scan aggressively for wildlife. If you pass one animal, it is important to slow down as that usually means there are more to come as animals often move in groups.

If you are on the verge of striking an animal while driving, try to hit the animal at an angle that will reduce the chance of it coming through your windshield.

At Cuming & Gillespie LLP, we represent individuals who suffer from all types of serious personal injuries.  If you or a loved one have sustained an injury and would like more information about your legal options, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced and award winning personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP. Please contact our office for a free case evaluation either online or by calling 403-571-0555. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.