Fall brings many welcomed things – cooler temperatures, a new school year, football, colorful leaves, the list goes on! Fall also brings some, not so welcomed things – rain, wet leaves, increased deer activity on the roads and shorter days, that list goes on too.
With changing weather comes a change in road conditions. While the conditions of the road might not be as noticeable as the beautiful leaves changing, they affect your daily route all the same.
Stay focused this fall. Here are some of the top dangers to keep in mind when you’re on the road:
- Rain & Wet Leaves
Cooler weather and more frequent rain can really test the grip of your tires. No matter what, you should always drive cautiously on wet roads – including driving slower than you would on a dry road. Wet leaves on the road can be as slick as ice!
Fall is also a great time to check your tire tread in preparation for the tough weather ahead. Place a penny into your tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you insert the penny all the way and all of Lincoln’s head is still showing, that means your tread has worn down and it’s time for new tires.
Driving too fast on wet roads or cruising around on worn tires can lead to hydroplaning. Hydroplaning causes thousands of accidents every year, so knowing what to do when you start to hydroplane is key: take your foot off of the gas, firmly grip the wheel and calmly make steering adjustments.
- Deer Collisions
Deer are most active from October to January, particularly during dusk and dawn. If you’ve ever seen a deer accident before, you know the damage to a vehicle can be very severe.
Be mindful of animal crossing signs and scan road shoulders during peak hours. You can utilize your high beams when necessary to increase your visibility. Learn more about how to avoid hitting a deer and what to do if you hit one.
- Back to School Traffic
The kids are back to school – which means more cars, buses and pedestrians on the road. Get ready for a daily commute filled with plenty of bus stops and crosswalks.
With heavier traffic on the roads, stay alert around schools and neighborhoods. Be sure to follow bus safety and school drop-off procedures as well. If you’re able to take an alternate route to avoid the hustle and bustle, that may be your best bet!
- Shorter Days
The sun rises later and sets earlier in the fall, making sun glare and nighttime driving a bigger threat. Nighttime driving and sun glare are another peak cause of car accidents.
Sun glare can impact your sight for several seconds after exposure, making it difficult to see oncoming traffic, pedestrians, or the car ahead of you. You can experience sun glare at sunrise or sunset, whenever sun bounces off of your rearview mirror or reflects off of objects on the road. Do your best to avoid this exposure with sunglasses or by simply adjusting your visor throughout your drive.
Be sure to stay alert during nighttime hours, scanning the roads and turning on your headlights at dawn and dusk. Always maintain a safe distance from other drivers.
Cold fall mornings often create fog, which can drastically limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog is more common in low areas or areas surrounded by water, mountains, hills and trees.
A common mistake drivers make in foggy conditions is turning on their high beams instead of their low beams – this only makes visibility worse as your high beams will bounce off of the fog and create glare.
Slow down and add extra distance between the car in front of you so you’ll have plenty of time to stop if need be.