There seems to be an unwritten rule that says when you’re making a car commercial you must feature a super slow motion shot of the car kicking up thousands of swirling leaves in its wake. Those innocent looking leaves, however, can be a real nuisance in real life, especially when Autumn rolls around. These Fall driving tips can help you stay safe on the road as daylight shortens and temperatures drop.
- Watch Those Leaves. Not only can wet leaves be treacherous when it comes to traction, they can also obscure lane lines and other road markers and can fill potholes and cover bumps. Use caution when braking and accelerating on leaf-covered surfaces. Drive slowly through corners and avoid hard stops. While you’re watching out for leaves look out for other drivers who are merely watching the leaves—car-driving leaf peepers aren’t always the most attentive drivers.
- Stay Out of the Sun. During fall the first 15 to 45 minutes of sunlight after sunrise and before sunset can make driving difficult due to glare. The sun aligns with east/west roadways during this time as well which adds an additional degree of difficulty. Have a good pair of sunglasses on hand, keep your windshield clean (inside and out) and use north/south roadways during this time if possible.
- Beware the Fog. Cold fall mornings often bring fog, which can greatly reduce visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places like valleys and low areas. The best approach is to slow down and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Keep your headlights on low beam as high beams actually reflect off the fog and create glare.
- Dodge the Deer. In this part of the country hitting deer is a problem throughout the year, but it becomes especially dangerous in the fall when mating season causes deer to be even more active and less wary. They also tend to be on the move at sunrise and sunset when driving challenges are already significant. Watch for movement next to the roadway and for the greenish reflection of your headlights in deer’s eyes.
- Beware of Bridges. Bridge surfaces get colder than the rest of the roadway and as a result frost and ice can be present on bridges but not on the adjacent surfaces. Slow down and be prepared.
- Go With the Flow. School busses, more drivers, and increased pedestrian traffic are all part of changing fall traffic patterns. Be alert and be patient. Allow some extra time for your commute and brush up on traffic laws including pedestrian and school bus right-of-way rules.
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