Driving is full of obvious dangers that responsible motorists carefully avoid. Sometimes however, it is the dangers that you don’t expect and therefore aren’t looking for that cause the most harm. They exist in many forms, both inside and outside of your car. Here are five hidden hazards that have taken many drivers by surprise:
- The invisible car in your blind spot. Unless you keep track of all the cars around you on multilane roads, cars that linger in your blind spot are invisible and outside of your awareness. You can avoid collisions with them by always turning your head to check your blind spot before a lane change.
- Rain after a long dry spell. There is a hidden danger coating the surface of roads in the form of dried oil and grease. During long dry spells, the grease and oil from cars build up on the pavement. This buildup becomes very slippery when rainfall resumes, and is especially treacherous during the first half hour of rain.
- Loose objects in the car. Your computer, the textbooks in the back seat, the empty glass bottle, and the other odds and ends lying about inside your car seem harmless enough. However, in a high-speed accident, every one of these objects become projectiles that fly toward the front of the car. If your car comes to a sudden stop at 60 mph, those objects will continue traveling at 60 mph. Seat belted people who would have otherwise survived a collision have died after getting struck by a loose object.
- Deer crossing at night. If you see shadows in the headlights of an oncoming car, you are likely seeing deer crossing the road just in front of you. Deer are active at night and are social animals. If you detect one, there are probably others nearby. Sometimes they will freeze in front of you at the sight of your headlights rather than jump out of your way. These skittish animals will also jump in front of you when they are startled. Watch for deer when driving on rural roads.
- Road salt. Salt is used in the winter to keep the roads clear of snow and ice. If you have an old car that has seen many winter seasons, get the underside inspected. Brake line corrosion underneath cars have caused brake fluid leakage and sudden brake failure.