Pumpkin spice, falling leaves, and cooling temperatures–it’s the most wonderful time of the year! While autumn presents fewer driving hazards than winter, there are still some unique challenges to face. Whether you’re going on a leaf-peeping road trip or simply driving to the grocery store, here are some things to be aware of during this season.
Falling leaves are pretty–until they hit the ground. At that point, they become a pain to deal with. Keeping your driveway clear of leaves is important during autumn. That’s because wet leaves can be just as slippery and treacherous as ice!
Avoid braking hard on patches of leaves since you could easily lose control of your vehicle. Leaves may also pile up on the road, making it difficult to see where the shoulder or line dividers are located.
Although many schools may be delaying their start or using distance learning during the pandemic, back-to-school traffic is still an issue. Make sure to obey traffic safety laws for school buses so that kids can get on and off safely. Anytime you’re in a school zone, drive with caution. During the school commute hours, you may also encounter newly licensed teenagers on the road.
Not only are the days getting shorter, but the end of Daylight Savings Time hits many commuters hard. You might need to head out before sunrise, so remember to leave yourself plenty of time to get there safely. Drivers tend to overestimate their ability to navigate in the dark.
Deer carcasses on the side of the road is a sadly common sight. Fall is mating season for deer, and the critters are especially active. The most common times to encounter deer on the road are dawn and dusk, but a fast-moving, 300 lb animal could dash in front of your car at any moment.
You know those signs that warn you about bridges freezing before roads? There’s a reason those exist. On a beautiful, crisp fall morning, the roads might be fine. However, bridges could be a different story.
While roads are insulated by the ground below, bridges lose heat much more quickly. Because air can move freely around the structures, the cold temperatures cause bridges, overpasses, and other elevated structures to freeze before the surrounding roadways.
Depending on where you live, fall could be a foggy, soggy season. Frequent rainstorms and fog-shrouded mornings make for challenging driving conditions. Maintain a safe driving distance with an adequate space cushion. It’s also a good idea to flick on your headlights during foggy conditions.