5 Driving Hazards of the Spring Season in Missouri

Spring in Missouri can be a beautiful time of year. People often head out to enjoy the state’s outdoor scenery and attractions, especially to places like Grant’s Farm and the Gateway Arch National Park near St. Louis.

However, driving hazards increase with warmer weather and more people on the roads. In 2020, car accident fatalities jumped from 54 in March to 60 in April, then further increased to 91 in May and 119 in June. 

Knowing which springtime dangers to look out for and how to avoid them can help you stay safe as warmer months approach. But if you are involved in a crash, our Missouri car accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley can help you seek compensation for any injuries or damages.

1.    Increased Precipitation

In Missouri, the spring season often leads to increased precipitation, introducing two potential driving hazards: flash flooding and frost on roads. Flash flooding can occur following heavy rains, making roads impassable and increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. Cooler temperatures overnight can cause frost formation on the road, reducing traction and making driving conditions hazardous.

To stay safe in these conditions, slow down to keep control on slippery or flooded roads. Increase your following distance to about 4 to 5 seconds to give yourself more time to react to hazards or sudden stops. Use your headlights in the rain to boost visibility and ensure other drivers can see you.

2.    Dangerous Potholes

As winter transitions into spring, drivers may encounter dangerous potholes, a common hazard on Missouri roads. These holes form when water seeps into cracks in the road, freezes, expands, and breaks the asphalt apart. This leaves behind gaps that collapse under the weight of passing vehicles, forming potholes.

These sudden, often deep holes in the road can cause accidents as drivers swerve to avoid them, or they can lead to vehicle damage such as punctured tires, bent wheels, and damaged suspension systems. They can also result in fatalities, like in the case of an 8-year-old girl killed in a pothole accident in Kansas City, Missouri, in January 2024.

To minimize risks, drivers should maintain a vigilant watch for potholes. Slow down when driving over damaged road surfaces and keep a safe distance from other vehicles to allow for sudden stops or maneuvers.

3.    Farming Equipment and Tractors on the Roads

Spring marks the beginning of planting season in Missouri, which means increased agricultural activity and the presence of farming equipment and tractors on the roads. These slow-moving vehicles can impede traffic flow and require drivers to exercise patience and caution when overtaking or sharing the road with them.

In 2022, 177 accidents occurred in Missouri because of farming equipment. It’s essential to yield to agricultural machinery, maintain a safe distance, and only pass when safe to prevent accidents.

4.    The Surge in Traffic

With the arrival of spring, many people head outdoors to enjoy recreational pursuits and vacations. This surge in traffic can lead to congestion on highways and busy roads, increasing the likelihood of accidents and delays.

Drivers should plan their routes in advance, avoid peak travel times when possible, and stay alert to changing traffic patterns to minimize the risk of collisions and ensure a smooth journey.

5.    More Pedestrians and Children Out Playing

As temperatures rise, the outdoors beckons to pedestrians and children eager for recreational fun, walks, and bike rides. This is particularly noticeable during spring break, a week-long hiatus from school. In 2024, St. Louis public schools will pause classes from March 18 to March 22.  

The surge in outdoor activity demands greater vigilance and care from drivers, particularly in residential neighborhoods, near parks, and around schools. Reducing speed, adhering to speed limits, and being ready to stop for pedestrians in these areas are crucial steps to avoid accidents and protect those most at risk.

Win a Settlement for Your Damages With Our Car Accident Attorneys

With spring arriving in Missouri, recognizing seasonal hazards and acting accordingly can reduce your risk of a severe car accident. However, if a collision occurs, our experienced car accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley can help you understand your rights and options for compensation.

We’ve been helping injured victims in St. Louis since 1973, and we can use this experience to help you get a fair settlement for your injuries after a crash. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.