Now that fall is officially here, there are some important tips to remember when it comes to driving. With the change of seasons comes a change in driving conditions, and there are important rules of the road to remember for each time of year. Even though we are not yet dealing with snow on the ground (knock on wood), there are other dangers to watch out for and work around while driving. These tips will give you a quick refresher on what exactly to look out for:
Wet Leaves - The brightly colored leaves on the trees are one of the most beautiful parts of the season, however once they begin to fall off the trees we have a problem. Wet leaves are extremely slick and can be just as dangerous as ice on the road. They reduce traction making it easier to skid out or hydroplane if it's raining. Another hazard? They can also cover up the yellow and white lines that divide lanes which limits visibility and creates dangerous conditions for yourself and others on the road. Treat slick leaves on the road as you would ice, drive slowly and cautiously and be extra aware of other drivers. Being a defensive driver could save your life, even if you are obeying all of the rules of the road, other drivers may not be. Stay alert and watch for any unsafe behavior such as speeding or weaving in and out of lanes, especially when there are wet leaves on the ground.
Frost - Hard to believe it but sooner than later we will be waking up to a fresh coat of frost on our windshields. You know what that means? Stocking our cars with ice scrapers and turning up the defroster! Make sure that you're prepared for your morning commute, there's nothing worse that running late because you have to wait for your windshield to defrost. Now that it's getting colder, frost will not only accumulate on your windshield but in cold, wet areas on the road as well. Be especially cautious near bridges with water underneath them. The combination of cold air and the water underneath the bridge causes the temperature of that part of the road to drop lower than other areas of the road, creating black ice. Areas underneath overpasses can also be dangerous because they get little to no sunlight. Pay extra close attention during the early morning and evening hours, typically the darkest and coldest times of day.
Driving In The Dark - We lose a minute of sunlight each day in the fall, and until we turn our clocks back in October it will only keep getting darker earlier at night and later in the morning. After enjoying the daylight until about 9 PM in the summer months, it can be quite an adjustment driving in the dark on your way home from work now that fall is here. As the days pass it is only going to get darker sooner, so don't forget to adjust your headlights both in the morning and at night. This is especially important in thickly settled districts, it will be much harder to see children playing outside, bike riders, and even people doing yard work outside once it starts to get dark in the early evening. Remember to adjust your headlight accordingly if you don't have automatic ones, and be extra cautious when driving during the dark evening hours.
Prepare Your Car For Winter - It's never too early to be prepared! Winterizing your car is a process that takes multiple steps and it's never too early to start! As we mentioned earlier, make sure you have an ice scraper in your car so that you're prepared for any frost that may potentially slow your commute. You should also set aside some time to have your vehicle looked at by a professional, make sure the brakes, heater, lights, battery, fluids, and defroster are all working. You don't want to be stranded or have any car troubles when the temperatures drop! We will post even more tips to winterize your car once the snowy season is closer, but for now these tasks will set you on your way to a winterized vehicle ready to take on the snow!
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