Fall Driving Presents Unexpected Challenges

Fall is here, time for the leaves to change color and fall off the trees.  With this change in season comes temperature changes, sun glare, precipitation and shorter days.

Driving in the fall can be a bit daunting at times, here are a few tips to be safe and keep aware during this unpredictable season.

  • Look at those colorful leaves.  Yes, as pretty and colorful as they are, they can be dangerous.  Once they become wet, they can become slippery and make for unsafe driving conditions.  While you are driving, keep a careful lookout for any areas on the road with leaves.  Even if they are not wet, be mindful not to park atop a leaf pile to prevent a fire.  Heat from your vehicles’ catalytic converter may be able to ignite a fire.
  • Pay a little more attention.  It’s time to fall back and with that comes less daylight hours and earlier darkness.  Before you know it, it’s dark when you leave work.  This will contribute to reduced visibility on the road and sometimes driving conditions that you may not immediately recognize.  Even if you are driving a route that you are used to driving, pay special attention to other motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and be on the lookout for any animals that may cross your path.
  • Believe it or not, your tires need special attention this time of year.  With the weather and temperature changing quite often, it can do a number on your tires.  They expand, contract and can lose air pressure.  Check your tires’ pressure to ensure that they are inflated to the manufacturer specifications and pay close attention to the tread.
  • Oh no! The sun is in my eyes.  Yes, that giant bright orange thing that we loved in the summer months is now a painful memory that now actually causes driving difficulty and delays.  It didn’t seem to bother us before, but now it is a constant driving distraction.  You will see it directly in front of you causing traffic to slow, bouncing off of the vehicle in front of you, causing you not to see or momentarily blinding you.  Be prepared for this distraction, by leaving for your destination a little earlier, thus giving you time for any delays.  Keep a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle, for needed shade.  In addition, the visor is there for a reason, so use it.  It will considerably cut down on that sun glare.
  • Seriously, it’s raining again?  Yes, fall weather brings precipitation in different forms.  Rain, sleet and sometimes snowfall and hail.  One of the most important things is to check your windshield wipers.  Make sure that they are in proper working condition.  If they need to be replaced, do so now.  Another good tip would be to apply Rain-X® or another window treatment product to increase visibility, especially during the night time.  If you find yourself driving on a road with excess water, slow down, by taking your foot off of the gas pedal.  Avoid sudden brake and steering movements as they could cause you to hydroplane.  If you feel unsure and cannot safely continue driving your vehicle, pull off to a safe area and wait until the precipitation has finished.