Memphis is a city of road hazards. We have potholes galore and giant manhole covers to swerve around. Even the most alert driver can succumb to road hazards, so don’t be alarmed. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver! There are several common road hazards most people don't think about when they hit the road. We’ve uncovered a few below and we hope you’ll take heed and hit the road feeling more prepared than before.
Rain after a long dry spell. With all this winter weather consisting of cold, rainy days with long periods of dryness in between, you might think it’s no big deal to drive normally. However, driving during or after it rains following a long dry spell could be treacherous. The pavement will undoubtedly be more slick during this time because dirt, grime, & motor oil build up on asphalt, and mixing it with water leads to slicker pavement and an increased chance of hydroplaning. Be alert during these conditions. Give yourself a few extra minutes to arrive at your destination, and keep a larger distance between you and the car in front of you. In the event that you begin to skid off the road, take your foot off of the break and pick a focal point to steer the car into.
Wildlife. The South is prone to many an armadillo or deer gracing the roads at twilight. Look out for these critters and take your time on back roads! Try to keep your high beams on to deter animals from the road. In the event one approaches, sound the horn and flash your lights, but do not swerve if you can help it!
Heavy fog. Fog is another big problem when the temperature shifts. If you can barely see the car in front of you, try to wait until the fog lifts. If your commute doesn’t allow for that and you must be on the road, drive with your low beams on. You might be tempted to drive with high beams but the light will just reflect off the water particles in the fog and make it harder to see.
Potholes. It seems like the Midsouth is plagued with potholes. While our city road maintenance may seem like a likely culprit to blame, potholes simply are a natural occurrence as the temperature shifts. When the temperature gets cold, the asphalt expands and grows tight, and when it gets warm it shrinks and causes holes to be created under the surface layer. The easiest way to avoid potholes is to drive slower and give yourself space around other vehicles. Avoid driving through puddles that could contain craters underneath. Constantly keep your tires full and inspect new tires.
These are just a few of the many road hazards that you might encounter on your drive. The safest way to avoid road hazards is to stay alert, drive defensively, take your time and keep a safe distance from other drivers!