As summer comes to a close, the air begins to cool, the nights get longer and kids everywhere are hitting the books again. While the leaves start changing color, changes in the weather will mean changes in the road conditions, too. It’s important for both new and veteran drivers to be prepared for these changes so everyone remains as safe as possible throughout the fall season.
Safe Driving Tips for Fall Weather
The key to safe driving this fall (and any other season, for that matter) is to simply stay alert when you’re behind the wheel. Limit distractions; stop fiddling with the stereo or navigation system, stash the cell phone out of sight, and save the snacking for when you get to your destination. However, there are other fall driving safety tips to keep mind, whether you’re out for a ride to view the foliage or simply driving to and from work, including:
- Watch out for leaves. We aren’t referring to the leaves still on the trees in this case, but rather those that have fallen and are piled up in heaps on the road. Leaves can become soggy and wet or even freeze over during a chilly night, making them extremely slippery. Plus, sometimes piles of leaves can hide children playing, debris, potholes or even cover road markings, so make sure to slow down and give yourself plenty of room to stop in case of an emergency.
- Remember the sun goes down sooner. Daylight savings will end in early November this year, but even up until then the days will be getting shorter and shorter. Nighttime driving means reduced visibility and reaction times, so be sure to use your headlights properly; those high beams can come in handy on a darkened road with little streetlights!
- Prepare for adverse weather. It’s not uncommon to experience a variety of different types of weather in the fall; from an Indian summer that goes late into October to snowfall that same week. Throw in some fog and a thunderstorm and you’ve got all four seasons rolled into one! Try to avoid driving during any type of extreme weather, but if you have to get from point A to point B regardless, make sure your car is ready. Keep a snowbrush handy and well as a pair of sunglasses, finally allow more space and time in wet or icy conditions.
- Be aware of wildlife. As creatures begin to get ready for winter, they’ll be more apt to dash out unexpectedly to cross roads. Plus, fall is prime breeding time for deer. Use extra caution when you’re driving in the early morning or late evening hours, if you do see one deer, be aware there may be more right behind him as they tend to travel in packs.
- Keep your car well-maintained. If you’ve put off getting that tune up all season, fall is the perfect time to give your vehicle some much-needed TLC. Purchase some new windshield wiper blades, check to make sure the headlights are properly aligned, check the tire pressure, brakes, fluids, etc.