As the leaves start to turn colors and the temperatures drop, it’s time to consider what could be a dangerous driving season. The fall of 2022 is predicted to see an increased number of significant weather events, floods, and hurricanes which could lead to hazardous travel conditions. With the changing weather conditions, there are several safety tips you need to remember when traveling. For starters, even with the decreasing temperatures and barometric readings, it’s essential to make sure your car has been properly checked by an experienced professional to ensure that your vehicle will not experience pressure-related problems such as tire blowouts. Our mechanics in Victoria BC are here to discuss some safety tips below to prepare you for your September travel plans.
Top 6 Fall Driving Safety Tips
Here are tips to keep you safe on the road this fall:
It’s common to see leaves falling from trees as the weather cools down, but they can be dangerous for drivers in two ways. First, they can block your vision when they blow across the road. Second, if you’re driving through a forest area, they can get swept up into your grill and cause problems with your engine. If you encounter fallen leaves on the road, slow down and try to avoid them if possible — especially if you’re traveling at high speeds or turning sharply at an intersection or driveway exit ramp.
The sun can significantly distract drivers, primarily when it reflects off of water, snow, or other surfaces. To avoid being blinded by the sun, keep your windshield clean and your visor down while driving. If you can’t avoid the glare, slow down until it’s safe to continue driving at normal speed.
Wildlife collisions are common in some regions of the country and can be deadly for humans and animals. To avoid hitting an animal while driving, drive with headlights on during dusk or dawn hours when animals are more active. Slow down near areas with high wildlife traffic, such as fields or forests.
Lack of Daylight
In the fall, days get shorter, and nights get longer. This means that it is harder to see at night, especially if you are driving on rural roads with fewer street lights. If you are unsure whether your headlights are working correctly, try them out in a dark parking lot or garage before heading out. If you’re approaching an intersection or stop sign at night, look for pedestrians and cyclists who could be hidden by shadow or darkness.
Fog can be dangerous because it reduces visibility and makes it harder to detect hazards on the road. It can also cause a whiteout effect that can make it impossible to see where you’re going. If you’re driving in fog, slow down and keep your distance from other vehicles. Turn on your low-beam headlights, too.
Fog and frost are two weather conditions that can make driving hazardous, but frost is more dangerous than fog because of its potential to cause ice on the roadways. When there’s frost on the road, you need to reduce speed so that you don’t skid or lose control of your vehicle due to lack of traction. Be extra cautious when approaching hills or curves in the road because they tend to have more ice than flat areas.
Top 5 Fall Maintenance Tips
After a long summer, the cooler fall weather is a welcome change. But as the temperature drops and daylight hours shorten, you might notice little problems with your car that you didn’t see when driving in the sunnier months. Use this time to ensure your vehicle is in good shape to handle the changing seasons.
- Inspect your battery. If it has been less than four years since you replaced your battery, it may be time to do it again. If you haven’t replaced your battery yet, learn to spot signs of corrosion and other damage to avoid issues down the road.
- Inspect your headlights. If they’re not aligned properly or have dead bulbs, they could hinder your ability to see while driving at night.
- Inspect tire tread depth. For safe driving conditions, you need at least 1/16 of an inch of tread on each tire.
- Inspect windshield wipers/windshield washer fluid reservoir/rear window wiper blade or fluid level if equipped; replace accordingly if necessary for optimal visibility during inclement weather conditions and winter precipitation (snow, sleet, ice).
- Inspect the heating and cooling system: Ensure enough coolant in the radiator and that none is leaking.
Here is an excellent resource if you are planning to travel this fall and want to be conserving fossil fuel. Do your part to save the environment by driving less this season, and keep these tips in mind while you are out!