2022 Fall Tips: How To Drive Safely in Damp and Foggy Seasons
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Fall weather is often a welcome respite from the summer heat, but wet leaves, fog and other hazards can make driving difficult. Drivers should take extra precautions and stay vigilant to avoid filing accident claims with their auto insurer. Below are eight dangers of driving during autumn plus driving tips for preventing accidents and making the roads safer for everybody.
1. Wet Conditions
Rainfall may be more frequent in the fall and this creates more opportunities for cars to hydroplane on slick roads. If it’s chilly enough, rain can turn into frost. Drivers should be aware of these dangers and give themselves enough space to come to a stop if they have to break suddenly. Practice the following tips when driving in wet conditions:
- Remove leaves from the windshield.
- Replace windshield wipers when necessary.
- Drive slowly, especially over wet leaves and around turns.
- Keep one car length for every 10 miles per hour between you and other cars to avoid sudden braking that can lead to hydroplaning.
- If you hydroplane, steer straight and gently release the gas (do not brake) until the tires have traction again.
2. Navigating Through Darkness
When clocks fall back one hour in the fall and days get shorter, you may be driving when it’s dark. Darkness reduces visibility but using the following driving safety tips can help you navigate safely:
- Ensure your headlights are clean and functioning properly.
- Watch for pedestrians walking or on bicycles, as they may be difficult to see at night.
- Be careful of students walking home from school at a later hour.
- Drive slowly through neighborhoods.
3. Cold Weather
With temperatures dropping even more overnight in the fall, you may wake up to morning frost on your window and icy patches on the road. These cold, wet conditions may be perfect for wearing sweaters but are less ideal for driving conditions. To avoid car accidents, use the following tips:
- Clear frost from your windows.
- Increase your following distance with the car in front of you.
- Reduce your speed and brake gently, especially when driving over bridges and overpasses (these tend to frost first).
- Watch for black ice on the roads.
- Check your tire pressure every day because tires can expand and contract quickly when temperatures suddenly drop.
- Check your tire’s treads.
Deer accidents are common during autumn because it’s mating season. If you see a deer, drive cautiously as they often travel in groups. Keep a lookout for traffic signs that signal the upcoming road is frequented by deer wildlife.
To avoid hitting a deer, try driving outside peak deer activity hours at dawn and dusk. Be extra careful in November when the likelihood of hitting a deer or other animal doubles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Sunrises and sunsets in the autumn are beautiful but can cause a glare that makes it challenging to see other cars, pedestrians and traffic lights. To improve your visibility when glares happen, use the following tips:
- Keep your windshield clean from particles of dust, smudges and streaks that can worsen driving visibility when illuminated by the sun.
- Avoid using wax or other products that make your car shiny since the light reflected could temporarily blind you.
- Wear sunglasses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce headlight or streetlight glare.
6. Fog and Lower Visibility
Fog can slowly descend on cold, autumn mornings, reducing visibility for drivers on the road. If you’re not careful, you may strike a pedestrian, car, animal or object. Driving in fog can be dangerous and drivers should use the following tips to avoid accidents:
- Use low beams as high beams reflect off the fog and blind you.
- Maintain one car length for every 10 miles per hour with the car in front of you.
- Drive slowly to maintain a safe braking distance.
- Pull over and wait for weather conditions to clear if visibility is completely obstructed.
With summer over and school back in session, drivers should adjust their speed to account for the increased presence of children on the streets. You may encounter more school buses while driving, too. The following tips can help you avoid accidents around children:
- Obey the speed limit in school zones and neighborhoods.
- Watch for trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
- Come to a complete stop while school buses are loading and unloading children.
- Drive slowly around cars with their hazard lights on, as they may be picking up or dropping off children.
Well-maintained tires will keep you, your passengers and the drivers and pedestrians around you safe. Make sure to check your tire pressure monthly. Your tires drop at least one pound per square inch of pressure each month and drop another pound per square inch of pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature.
You’ll want to inspect your tire treads each month, as well. Tires with sufficient tread can steer better and stop faster than tires with poor tread. Good treads can also minimize hydroplaning.
Additional Ways To Drive Safely This Fall Season
Good driving habits will keep you and your family safe and your insurance premiums low. Below are more fall season safety tips you can follow when you’re behind the wheel:
- If you are being tailgated, let the other car pass.
- Don’t park your car over a pile of leaves, as your car’s exhaust system or catalytic converter could start a fire.
- If you see a pile of leaves, drive around it — children may be playing in leaf piles.
- Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and has good treads.
- Take a deep breath if you feel road rage kicking in.
- Learn what you should do after a car accident.
- Be on the lookout for drunk drivers on Halloween and Thanksgiving.
- Drive slowly, especially if visibility is poor and roads are icy.
- Maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles at dusk and dawn.
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- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Deer season means animal strike season on the roads.” Accessed Oct. 20, 2022.
- Repair Pal. “Checking Your Car’s Tire Pressure: Why It’s So Important” Accessed Oct. 20, 2022.