Fall arrives with gorgeous colors in the trees and refreshing crisp air. The changing season also brings some unique driving hazards. Learn about common problems facing drivers in the fall, along with tips on how to stay safe when you’re behind the wheel.
An ounce of prevention
Before you head out, make sure your car is up for the drive. Cooling temperatures may cause loss of tire pressure, which can lead to anything from getting lower gas mileage to loss of control on curves or wet spots due to under-inflated tires.
Leaves – the great concealers
It doesn’t take long before the colorful leaves drop from the trees, covering roads andblowing around with the blustery fall winds.
Leaves on the pavement can conceal road markings, posing a potential danger for passing drivers on narrow or windy roads. Road markings—center lines, painted crosswalks , yellow railroad crossings marks, school zone markings— effectively become invisible when leaves cover the ground, so drive with care.
Rain, rain, go away
Then it rains. Trying to navigate through a carpet of wet leaves on the road can leave your vehicle as vulnerable to losing control as if it were on ice or slush in winter. Wet leaves can clump and stick, getting into wheel wells, potentially affecting traction and braking.
Dropping temperatures create something else with dewy or rain-soaked leaves: thin layers of ice. Take extra care on your commute, especially on brisk fall mornings when you observe frost.
Nothing like the sun
As we get further into fall, the days shorten and so does the angle of the sun in the sky. Especially around the fall Equinox (mid-late September), east-west roads can become hazardous due to the glare of rising or setting sun. Use caution, sun visors or sunglasses when traveling at dawn or dusk and always keep a safe distance from vehicles ahead of you.
Don’t get lost in the fog
Changing temperatures can bring about patches of fog and some of them can be quite dense. If you routinely encounter fog, reduce your speed and drive with caution. Keep your safe distance from other vehicles, and make sure your headlights are on so other drivers can see you.
Use low beams, or fog lights, if your car is equipped with them, and do not use your vehicle’s high beams. The lower-angled light creates less reflection from the fog and that improves visibility for you.
Distracted drivers & leafers
The beauty of the fall scenery can be lovely to behold and leaf peepers, or leafers, are quick to head for winding country lanes.
Be patient when you drive, especially on scenic roads. Other drivers may slow down, pull off the road, or stop completely to take it all in without much warning. Pay careful attention to traffic, especially vehicles exhibiting erratic behavior.
Enjoy the colors, be safe and have fun
Looking forward to traveling on the roads over the holidays? Check out our Winter Driving Safety Tips here.