How to Drive Safely In The Fall Season
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How to Drive Safely In The Fall Season

Category:car gps tracker

smarketingOctober 11, 2023

Ah, the bleak yet beautiful months of autumn! The hot and humid days with temperatures soaring to 90 degrees are gone. No more trips to the beach or cookouts for now. Instead, you and a million other Americans will enjoy football games and visit pumpkin patches. Indeed, the fall is all about the tastes of pumpkin and apple, the feel of the crisp morning air, and the sight of the lovely red, orange, and yellow foliage.

To say that the fall is a lovely time of the year is an understatement. It marks the transition from summer to autumn and the beginning of all types of change, including changes in road conditions. Every season brings unique driving challenges, and autumn is no different.

So, how do you tackle the obstacles of the fall? How do you make your trips safe?

Familiarize yourself with the changing light patterns

Autumn days are shorter than summer days. The sun moves closer to the horizon, causing more glare at dawn and dusk, and the evenings will get darker once you end daylight savings time in November. According to the National Safety Council, 50% of traffic deaths happen after sunset, even when folks spend only one-quarter of their entire driving time at night. This happens due to the darkness, which reduces peripheral vision, depth perception, and color recognition. To prevent such accidents, you should:

  • Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to avoid being dazed by the sun's blinding glare. In the fall, it is common in the morning and evening rush hour.
  • Keep the windshield clean to prevent dirt streaks from contributing to the autumn glare.
  • Be careful while driving in neighborhoods during the wee hours of morning and evening. The low light makes it difficult for drivers to see children playing or pet owners walking their dogs.
  • The glare of approaching headlights blinds drivers approaching you from the opposite direction at night. Avoid wearing sunglasses as they tend to obstruct your vision at night. The best thing to do is to avoid looking directly at the headlights of oncoming cars. Look towards the right and search for the white-painted line on the road.

Beware of leaf hazards

Autumn leaves are a sight to behold, but surprisingly they can be dangerous. Driving on a road carpeted by wet leaves is risky as it makes the surface slippery. In fact, the road becomes as slick as black ice, and they may even turn icy when the temperature drops. Dry leaves are not safe to drive on, either. They reduce traction, cause skidding, and even hide potholes and road markings. To prevent an accident, you should:

  • Remove the leaves on your windshield so they do not get stuck in the wiper blades and block your sight.
  • When you drive on leaf-covered roads, drive slowly. Think about potholes hiding under the leaves that you would not want to hit at higher speeds.
  • NHTSA and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation suggest creating as much distance as possible between yourself and the vehicle in front to avoid braking suddenly on the treacherous surface.
  • Autumn is when some drivers stare at the fall foliage on the road while driving. Instead, they should focus on the road.
  • With schools back in session in autumn, the hustle and bustle on the roads will increase. You will deal with increased traffic, school buses, pedestrians, etc. Stick to the speed limits and be wary of pedestrians.
  • Never drive through a pile of leaves. Children love to hide there.
  • Never park over a pile of leaves, either. Otherwise, there might be a fire hazard in your hands resulting from the heat generated in the exhaust system.

Decreased visibility in foggy conditions and rain

Fall brings an increase in rain. Prepare your car by checking the windshield wipers. Watch out for signs of wear or damage, like splitting. If the wipers fail to clean the windshield, change them immediately.

The chilly mornings of the fall can create foggy conditions, which reduce your visibility and the perception of distance when driving. Take the appropriate measures to increase your visibility and implement ways to make yourself visible in the fog.

  • Keep the headlights on, even during the day. If you have fog lights installed in your vehicle, use them.
  • Do not use the high beams because they fail to work well in dense fog. Instead of lighting the path, high beams will create a glare and distort your visibility.
  • Drive at a safe speed, but stay far away from other drivers.
  • Do not get distracted. Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Use the defroster and windshield wipers to keep the glass clean. Set the defroster to warm to get rid of any moisture.
  • Pull over to a safe area if you need to. Just make sure that you turn off the lights because, in a fog, other drivers will see your lights and think you are in their lane of traffic. This situation may cause a collision.

Take it slow on the bridges and overpasses

If overnight temperatures drop below zero, you should expect a frosty morning. This frost will definitely affect your journey.

  • Heat up the engine to clear away the morning frost on the windshield and windows before you start driving.
  • Drop your speed as you approach bridges, overpasses, and shaded zones. These areas remain frozen.
  • Beware of black ice. It does not look like snow, but it makes road surfaces slippery.

Watch out for deer

Autumn is the mating season for deer. It means you may encounter more of these magnificent creatures during your travels in the fall than at any other time of the year. Most drivers crash into deer in November, as per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. An adult creature ranges between 150 and 300 pounds. Naturally, hitting one will result in a serious accident in which you may sustain severe injuries.

  • Deer activity increases during dawn and dusk. Keep your eyes peeled and watch for movement on the sides of the road, particularly in areas with deer crossing signs.
  • These animals often travel in groups. If you notice one crossing the road, you can be certain that more will follow.
  • Do not swerve if you see a deer. Try to come to a halt while controlling your deceleration and wait for the creature to pass. Turn on the hazard lights to alert other drivers that you stopped.

Maintain the vehicle

Proper vehicle maintenance will help you navigate the challenges of driving in the treacherous autumn road conditions.

  • Check the headlights, tail lights, and turn signals to ensure they are working. Align the headlights properly.
  • Check the windscreen wipers. Do not hesitate to replace the blades if they appear worn out.
  • Check the heating system to make sure it is working.
  • The tires should be appropriately inflated and have enough tread in them. Car tires expand and contract whenever the temperatures rise and fall, which, in turn, causes air pressure loss. You need your tires to be inflated as per manufacturer specifications. So, check the owner's manual.
  • In the end, make sure that you have proper insurance. Coverage will give you peace of mind should anything untoward happen.

Closing thoughts

There is something majestic about autumn, but the beauty of the fall brings several obstacles for drivers to deal with when sitting behind the wheel. By following these safety measures, you can enjoy every trip while eliminating the risks and stress posed by this beautiful season.

To stay even safer, consider using a car GPS tracker from Vyncs. With it, create geofences to mark autumn hazard zones, keep track of your speed limit, determine how your teenagers drive, and get 24/7 roadside assistance if you fail to avert an accident.