While fall is still the time of pumpkin picking, hay rides, and leaf raking, it’s also that time of the year when weather and road conditions start getting harder to handle, which is an issue for all drivers but especially for new drivers. To make sure you’re staying safe on the road this season, check out some of these smart, simple driving tips:
Avoid Braking on Leaves
A road covered in damp leaves is just as slick as an iced road would be in winter. To ensure you don’t slide across the road and cause damage or injury, drive through the leaves slowly and avoid braking hard. Leaves can also obscure lines on the road and other markers, so keep a close eye on the road’s edge and try to stay in the right lane.
Avoid Sun Glares
Near or on the autumn equinox, the first 15-45 minutes before sunset and after sunrise can make driving more difficult because of sun glare. When this happens, the sun aligns perfectly with west/east roadways, and for this time, you’ll need to get some sunglasses, clean your windshield, and use south/north streets or those with adequate tree cover.
Be Smart About Rain
During the fall season, rainfall increases dramatically, and it’s imperative when rain starts to keep yourself at safe distances from the cars in front of and behind you. Depending on the recent weather in your area, the roads could be slicker than usual, thereby increasing the likelihood of hydroplaning. Also, be sure to use low beams during fog conditions as opposed to high beams, as the fog would merely reflect the brighter light and obscure your vision further.
Inspect Your Vehicle
You need to be sure your car is ready for fall just as much as you are. This means you should check the following:
- Tire pressure: A vehicle’s tires lose pressure between one and two pounds for each 10-degree drop in temperature.
- Windshield wipers. Replacing wipers regularly ensures you have a clean, clear window, which helps you to see better through sun glares.
- Headlights: If your vehicle’s headlights are too dim, you can check with your car care professional to see whether they’re properly aligned.
Be Cautious on Bridges
As temperatures start dropping, frost can cause overpasses, bridges, and shaded road sections to develop ice patches. When there’s a good chance of there being ice on the road, drivers need to slow down accordingly.
Watch for Deer
Fall marks the start of breeding season for deer, making them more active in wooded areas close to the road. It’s during sunrise and sunset when deer are at their most active, so drivers should be more alert when driving through or near wooded areas as well as deer crossing areas.
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Photo By Galyna_Andrushko