Autumn might be the most beautiful time of year with the leaves turning bright gem colors, but it can also be dangerous with often-dicey fall weather. Along with a change in daily light/dark patterns are cold fronts that bring rain and other sketchy elements that make driving slightly more treacherous. It’s a good idea to be prepared for just about anything the weather throws at you. Being prepared means securing the cheapest car insurance so you can save money while also being appropriately prepared in case of an accident.
Hello Darkness My Old Friend
Autumn heralds fewer hours of sunlight. Every day, nightfall is a couple of minutes earlier while dawn arrives a couple of minutes later. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and children are all working within their normal schedules, meaning you’re likely to see people out jogging and kids out playing or waiting for the bus even when it’s dark.
- Always use your defensive driving skills
- Keep a watchful eye on bus stops, school zones, and for children walking to and from school
- Remember that Halloween may be the last day of the month but celebrations can take place at any time during October. Be on the lookout for groups of costumed children playing and especially out trick or treating on Oct 30th and Oct 31st.
Keep an Eye on the Fickle Weather
Yes, the seemingly endless days of blue sky and hot blazing sun are (for most of us) over for now. Autumn can be a cool, damp season bringing on rain and fog day or night. Frost coats the ground for the first time and drivers must remember how to drive on slippery roads.
- Frost is beautiful and the first one is often unexpected and breathtaking. However, it is can also create hazardous driving conditions. As temperatures drop, always break gently on bridges and overpasses where frost and ice will form first.
- Driving through fog can be eerie and dangerous. Some of the worst vehicle pileups in the nation have been due to fog so it’s important to be prepared when you encounter it. Keep your headlights on their low beam setting, don’t adjust to brights because they will create glare and limit your visibility instead of enhancing it.
- On your regular route, be aware of where black ice often forms.
Leaves on the Road are a Hazard
The trees are dropping their leaves in copious numbers and they generally have nowhere to go than your lawn and the road. When clouds gather and autumn rain falls, it causes the leaves to get slick and extremely slippery. The condition can be very similar to driving on ice. It’s easy to lose control due to little traction and then skid off the road.
- Like snow, leaves cover road pavement markings making it difficult to see the lanes and other important symbols.
- Leaves can obscure bumps and potholes in the road.
- Always slow down if you’re driving on a road that is covered in leaves. Dry leaves can easily hide wet leaves underneath.
- Never drive through a pile of leaves that is on the side of the road. Children love playing in these piles so go around it.
- Don’t park on a pile of leaves, it can create a fire hazard from the catalytic convertor or exhaust system.
Maintaining Your Vehicle for Cooler Temps
When it comes to staying safe on the road this autumn, one thing you must consider is vehicle maintenance. Colder weather takes a different kind of toll on a car and ignoring proactive measures will only increase the possibility of getting stranded on a dark and dreary day.
- Inspect the windshield wiper blades for wear. When you run them see if there are any smudges, streaks or skips on the glass, if there are then replace them.
- Keep headlights and brake lights working in good order. Make sure they are properly aligned and not burned out.
- Have your battery tested. A waning battery might get you through the summer but come winter time, it will leave you stranded.
- Top off/replace antifreeze to accommodate the usual winter temperatures for your location.
- Gather a survival kit and leave it in the car. Items to include are: flashlight with batteries, ice scraper, collapsible snow shovel, cat litter (for traction), non-perishable snacks, blanket, charged portable phone charger.
More Autumn Driving Tips
- Fall is an active time for deer and other wildlife. Be on the lookout for them especially at dawn and dusk. If you see one deer crossing the road slow down and wait as they usually move in groups.
- Sun glare can be an issue this time of year, as well. Keep a good pair of sunglasses handy to enhance visibility.
When you implement the right driving techniques for autumn, you keep it a safe, beautiful season.