If it feels like fall snuck up on you this year, you’re not alone! The first day of fall is September 22nd, and we’ve put together a list of driving tips to help keep you safe this season.
1. Watch out for fallen leaves.
While fall leaves are beautiful to look at, they’re not so beautiful to drive on. Wet leaves can turn the road into a slippery mess pretty quickly. Driving over them can cause your vehicle to lose traction. Leaves can also block drainage and cause big puddles. It’s a good idea to avoid driving through big puddles as much as possible, because you never know what’s hiding beneath the surface. It could be something that damages your vehicle.
Leaves are often raked into piles along the side of the road, and as a result, drivers may park further away from the curb than usual, making narrow streets even more narrow.
As we move into the fall season, keep an eye out for fallen leaves and do your best to avoid them as much as possible while on the road. If you cannot avoid them, slow down and proceed with caution.
2. Check your tires.
Cool air in the fall can cause your tires to lose pressure more quickly than usual. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tire pressure decreases by about 1 pound per square inch (PSI). Incorrect tire pressure will compromise cornering, braking, and stability. In the worst-case scenario, improper tire pressure can lead to tire failure (a blow-out) and a serious collision.
Check the tire pressure recommendations in your vehicle’s owner manual. Or, you can often find this information printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. You could also look it up online. Most passenger cars will recommend 32 to 35 PSI. Often times, the PSI will be different for front and rear tires. Keep an eye on your tire pressure and fill your tires when necessary.
3. Drive carefully in fog.
As the air cools in the fall, the water vapor condenses into fog. Fog can become a real problem in the fall, especially in the morning. Roads you drive every day suddenly look unfamiliar, and other drivers are unpredictable. In fog, you can’t see the road ahead and may not be able to stop before hitting another vehicle, person, animal, or object. If you notice fog before heading out, consider postponing your trip until conditions are clear.
If driving in the fog cannot be avoided, there are a few precautions you can take. First, make sure to use your low beam headlights, not your high beam headlights. High beams reflect water vapor (fog) and make it harder to see because of the glare. You should turn on your low beams in daytime fog if your vision is reduced to 1,000 feet or less. If fog closes in completely and your visibility is reduced to near zero, carefully pull off the road as far as possible, stop where it is safe to do so and wait until visibility returns before driving again.
The next thing to keep in mind is not to stop in the middle of the road when entering a fog bank. The car behind you may not see you, and might rear-end you. Reduce your speed, and increase the amount of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Finally, keep your windshield clear of condensation by using your windshield wipers. You could also crack a window to help reduce condensation.
This fall, stay safe by keeping these driving tips in mind! If you would like to learn more about how to adjust your driving to fit any situation, take one of our online courses! We offer convenient online courses for traffic school, defensive driving, auto insurance discounts, driver education, and mature driver improvement. Visit our website to see which courses we offer in your area!