10 Hazardous Driving Risks to Be Aware Of

Getting behind the wheel of a car comes with many risks. Sure, driving is very convenient, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility to ensure that you, your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians remain safe. That’s why drivers should be aware of the various hazards they may encounter on the road. Read on to gain insights about what you should look for whenever you operate a vehicle.

1. Roadkill

Depending on where you’re driving, it may be easy to encounter animals on the road. Unfortunately, some animals can’t move fast enough to avoid a car and can end up getting hit. As you’re driving on a road, you may encounter an animal that has already suffered an unfortunate fate. Like any other dead creature, a dead animal on the road is a biohazard that you should be aware of. So make sure you don’t touch the animal as you would be susceptible to parasites or diseases that it carries.

If you see such roadkill in your travels, or if you’re responsible for hitting an animal, make sure you contact a biohazard waste disposal service to safely remove it. After all, any type of deteriorating flesh can also attract other vermin, which can create a major hazard in the area. For example, buzzards, flies, and rodents are all attracted to decaying flesh. In other words, not tending to roadkill could eventually lead to an infestation of unwelcome vermin that other people don’t want to deal with.

Animals on the road aren’t just a hazard in terms of their existence, but can also serve as a danger to you, the driver. Large animals like deer or moose can cause major damage to your car. If you hit one of them, you could damage your front lights, bumper, or windshield, or possibly crash into another car while trying to swerve. Therefore, if you’re in an area that’s close to a forest or any other animal habitat, be extra vigilant and drive carefully. Make sure you keep your headlights on, especially if you’re driving in the dark or during inclimate weather so that you can be aware of any animals that may be crossing.

2. Pets

Pets are a part of the family, and they’re great companions. It can be a joy seeing your dog stick its head out the window and enjoy the scenery as you’re driving along the road. As great a companion as your pets may be, be very careful as to how they can distract you while you’re driving. Any type of distraction can be dangerous, even when it’s in the form of your cute puppy or kitten. Pets can bark and jump around or try to jump out of the car at the worst time. While you’re trying to take care of your pup, It’s easy to lose focus and swerve your car which results in getting into an accident.

It’s no secret that some pets are extremely anxious. So if they’re in a situation where you’re driving on a loud road with a lot of honking cars and you have to react quickly, it can be a lot for a nervous animal to take. So you may have to constantly hold the pet down with one arm and calm them down or pull over frequently.

If you’re going to take your pet in your car, should be just as protective of them as you are of little children. In other words, keep them in a hardness or a crate while you’re driving at all times. According to Progressive, some states have laws that require devices like dogs, seat belt and car harnesses. If you don’t properly have your pet seated, you may be in a situation where you’re breaking the law and can be fined. If it’s too much of a problem to harness your pet while driving, you may simply be in a situation where you’ll have to leave your pet at home or consider a dog boarding service if you must go on a long road trip.

3. Sun Rays

There is nothing like feeling the warm sun on your skin. However, too much sun can be detrimental to safe driving. Too much sun can create a glare that makes it hard to properly see when you’re driving. As a result, you could miss signals, traffic signs, or other vehicles that are close by. If the sun is too powerful when you’re driving, you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun damage. You should also take advantage of a sun visor or incorporate window shade to help block out the sun.

Say, for example, you’re driving on a long, hot summer day. Try to time your driving when the sun is not at its most powerful. That way you’ll be less likely to experience the intense glare of the sun while you’re on the road. If it’s too hot, it can easily fatigue you while driving. Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can also wreak havoc on your skin. So if you’re pale, a redhead, have very sensitive skin, or have a history of skin cancer in your family, wear proper sunscreen, and shades and avoid driving when it’s too intense if you can.

4. Fallen Trees

One of the good things about fall is the cooler breeze and temperate weather that comes with it. As people enjoy the relief from the hot summer months, they also must prepare for stronger wind storms such as hurricanes. As fall turns into winter, people also have to deal with heavy snow storms. As heavy winds and snow dominate the weather, it spells trouble for trees. Even the strongest trees can become weakened by winds and heavy snow. As a result, you may see fallen trees in your neighborhood and on the road.

Trees can also fall due to age, illness, or injury from a lightning strike. As they block the road, it’s harder to drive and you may have to prepare for a detour. In worse cases, a tree can fall while you’re driving. So if you see a tree swaying, slow down or stop and do what you can to avoid its path. Report any fallen trees to a local brush clearing company for removal.

5. Construction Debris

As cities continue to grow due to population increase, that usually means a rise in construction projects. You can see various construction projects anywhere. There may be construction in your local downtown area, on the side of a road, or right in your local neighborhood. Look for construction signs that alert you that you’re approaching a work zone.

When you approach a work zone, slow down and stay cautious. You not only have to be mindful of the general contractors at work but of the related debris and material from their work. Construction involves concrete, wood, metal, nails, chemicals, and other elements that can damage your car or you. If a work accident occurs in which these materials go flying into the road, it can affect any cars driving nearby.

6. Fallen Power Lines

As inclement weather increases, you must look out for fallen power lines, just as you would fallen trees. Accidents and vandalism can also cause fallen power lines. Never approach them on your own or in your car as they can electrocute you. A fallen power line is also a major fire hazard and can even create explosions if it comes in contact with a car, engine, or anything else that’s flammable. If you notice a fallen power line that’s not being tended to, make sure you quickly report it to an electrical services, so they can repair it immediately.

7. Potholes

Potholes have long been the bane of any driver on the road. No driver wants to encounter a pothole if they can avoid it. These specific holes refer to cracks or holes in a road or any driving area such as a parking lot or driveway. When you drive over one of these bad features, it can cause you to quickly lose control of your car and swerve into other lanes. When that happens an accident can easily happen. Look out for signs of potholes in a road and slow down as much as possible. Do what you can to drive around them while avoiding other cars.

If you’ve driven in an area that has several potholes, make it a habit to constantly check your tires for damage. While tires are meant to be resilient on the road, too much exposure to cracks, potholes, and uneven terrain can quickly wear them down. Check for local tires for sale and always keep one in your trunk in case you run over a bad pothole that creates a flat tire.

Understand that you can encounter potholes in a parking lot or on your own driveway. If your driveway has such holes and cracks, call a local asphalt paving to fix it immediately. If there are too many holes, you may need to repave the entire surface.

8. Angry Drivers

You’ve likely heard stories or seen movies about crazy drivers and road rage. You may have even encountered some yourself. Unfortunately, some people are unhinged and easily triggered when in traffic. They don’t respect people or the rules of the road. They may tailgate you, cut you off, and not use signals.

Some provoke you into a fight and go as far as using a weapon over something trivial. Whatever you do, avoid someone who is acting in such a manner. With all the firearms in the country, you never know who has one and is willing to use it. Unfortunately, people have been shot due to someone’s road rage. If you encounter such a person, especially after an accident, stay in your car and call the authorities immediately.

9. Icy Roads

Winter will be here soon, so that means snow and ice in many parts of the country. Such weather can be a nightmare to drive in and makes it easy to get into an accident. Cars on icy roads can slide or skid without warning. It can also be hard to accelerate or brake as needed. Make sure you decrease the distance you keep behind other cars for these reasons. If you can avoid driving in such weather, that’s the best precaution to take. You should also avoid night driving in icy weather as well. During such a time of year, you may need to make a couple extra trips to the auto garage to prepare your car to handle the extra road conditions.

10. Pedestrians

As a driver, you should yield to pedestrians at the crosswalk and be mindful of how much damage a car can do to a human. However, some pedestrians may also pose a danger to drivers, especially if they run out into the road without looking. With the rise of smartphones, many people not only use these devices when driving but also when walking. When in your car, it can be hard to see people if they’re wearing dark clothing at night.

Hitting a pedestrian may cause more injury than hitting another car. After all, the pedestrian will take on the full impact of a vehicle and are likely to get serious injuries or death. If such an accident happens while you’re driving, you’ll need criminal defense attorneys to help you. According to the CDC, most pedestrian deaths from car accidents happen on urban roads that have a speed limit of 45-55 miles per hour. So make sure you pay attention to the speed limit and remain extra vigilant in low-lit areas.

Driving a vehicle of any size comes with risks that any driver should be aware of. You must look out for pedestrians, road rage, animals, anxious pets, and potholes, among other issues. It only takes a few seconds to get into an accident, so do what you can to stay alert and undistracted. Know what to focus on, so you can get to your destination safely.