Fall has finally arrived, and whether you’re a leaf peeper headed out to see the beautiful foliage, or you’re geared for a road trip to visit apple orchards, farm stands, and colorful sights along the way, here’s a few essential Fall driving safety tips, according to Ohio Put in Bay:
- Fallen leaves can be dangerous – Fallen leaves are responsible for many accidents. If they’re wet, they can cause your car to slip, and slippage can be deadly on those curvy mountain roads. If the leaves are dry, they can swoop up under your car and lodge themselves either inside your chassis, or in other sections of your undercarriage. Also, don’t park your vehicle too close to a pile of leaves. You could start a fire when the car’s catalytic converter kicks in!
- Be especially vigilant on dark roads – The end of Daylight Saving Time signals earlier sunsets and subsequent reduced visibility on the highways. Go slowly on dark, leaf-covered roads, and on roads that have steep inclines or are curvy, and watch out for darting deer and other animals, or even pedestrians that are not wearing bright clothing.
- Ice is not your friend – It’s very common to find road ice in October and November in many parts of the country, and some high-elevation areas like the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Adirondacks can have icy roads in September! Make sure that your car’s lights and brakes are functioning well before you go, and you might want to consider putting winter tires on your vehicle. Another danger is black ice. This is ice that is transparent, and is either invisible, or just looks like an innocuous puddle of water. Be extra cautious while crossing bridges when there are icy conditions, since cold air circulates both below and above the road deck, and causes ice before other lower parts of the highway.
- Other leaf peepers are everywhere – You’re not the only one who wanted to come and see the Fall foliage. Many other peepers will be pulling off the road from time to time to take thousands of photos, and they will also be driving slower than the speed limit in many scenic areas. Stay aware, and keep some extra distance between your car and the one in front of you. Remember all of the tips you learned while taking that defensive driving course. The life you save may be your own!
- Make sure your car is in tiptop shape before leaving home. Check its engine, tire pressure, fluids, brakes, windshield wipers and any other part you can think of. If you’re leaf peeping, you’ll most likely be driving on some rural roads that might be some distance from a city or town. AAA and other assistance services will need hours to get to you if you’re stranded on a lonesome stretch of highway 4500 feet up the mountainside.
- Watch out for Fall sunrises and sunsets – During Autumn, brilliant sunshine at these times of day can cause some nasty sun glare, which can make it hard or even impossible to see other cars or the road in front of you. Make sure to wear sunglasses to help cut the glare. Fall means a reduced amount of daylight, causing decreased visibility, and that equates into more difficulty seeing walkers, runners, cyclists and kids playing when it’s late afternoon. Be prepared for the possibilities, and turn your headlights on while it is still light. Avoid any distractions like cell phone picture taking or too loud radios.
Fall can be the most wonderful time of year to take a road trip. By taking a few precautions, you can reduce your risk of accidents.