When the seasons change, it’s important for drivers to be aware of the fluctuating road and weather conditions. This fall, be extra prepared throughout the colder seasons. Keep an eye out for leaf-littered roads that can be slippery and create a driving hazard.
As we pass through the end of Daylight Savings Time, there will be more time spent driving through the darkness. For many people, driving in the dark poses a new set of challenges as opposed to daytime driving. Depth perception, peripheral vision, and even recognizing the colors of signals and signs can be an issue. There is also oncoming headlight glare to contend with and the onset of being tired earlier in the evening.
As far as critters go, you’re nearly 4x as likely to hit deer, raccoon or any other animal scurrying across the road during the latter part of the year than at any other time. Autumn moving into winter is the time when animals scavenge for food, eager to put on that extra weight to carry them through the cold months. It helps to be aware.
Fall means children going back to class! So it’s time again to be wary of kids who are walking to and from school. Be especially careful around school zones and cars that are loading and unloading children along the roadway. Always stop when a school bus has on its red flashers.
The fall is often a rainy season and you’ll be better prepared for it if your tires have enough tread and the proper air pressure. You’ll be able to steer better and stop more quickly. Pressure in the tires will reduce dramatically as the weather cools, so keep your tire gauge handy.
They may be the highlight of the season but leaves can cause some serious danger and damage if not respected. Dead and falling leaves on the roadway, coupled with wind and rain can cause sewer blockages and therefore deep puddles the driver cannot see. Children love to play in piles of leaves, and leaves can turn the road into a slippery mess even in the slightest bit of rain.
As nice as they are, cool and crisp autumn mornings often come hand in hand with fog. Fog can be extremely tricky to drive through and should be handled with the utmost caution. Visibility as well as depth perception is reduced, and it can be difficult to gauge where other cars are as well as where lights and stop signs reside. If your car is equipped with fog lights, this is the time to use them in conjunction with your low beams. Don’t use your high beams because the light will simply bounce back to you, offering nothing by way of enhanced visibility.
The precursor to its more serious cousin, ice, frost needs to be handled properly as well. It’s time to get out the ice scraper, just in case. Be sure to run the defroster in your car until all of the windows have been cleared so your visibility is not in any way impaired.
As the sun moves closer to the horizon earlier in the evening, you’re more likely to encounter glare during your regular travels. And, not just direct glare but glare off of other cars and building windows. Keep your polarized sunglasses nearby and don’t ever look directly into the sun. Keep your windshield clean so the debris (and dead bugs) don’t contribute to the glare and reduced visibility.
Chances are high that as you slow down to accommodate the seasonal changes, other drivers will not. You’re likely to be in a tailgating situation or those who are impatient. Remain calm and yield to them even if you believe you have the right of way. It’s never worth it to take someone on in the name of pride.
Turn on Your Headlights
Regardless of the time of day, if it’s raining always engage your wipers and turn your headlights on. It’s the law in most states and is plain old common sense. You’ll want others to be able to see you in deteriorating weather conditions.
There are lots of things to look forward to in the fall: pumpkin spice everything, cozy blankets, warm apple cider… but it’s also best to remember that the change in weather patterns brings a different type of driver awareness. Raise your awareness by following these tips, as well as finding cheap car insurance that will keep you protected.