Ease into Fall Driving
Fall means many things: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, maple syrup, cozy clothes and… Halloween!
With the end of summer and everyone returning to routine, it’s time to brush up on some seasonal changes to get ready for fall driving.
Here are a few tips to help you ease into fall!
Fallen leaves can be slippery. Like, very slippery.
Early morning dew can make driving on leaves like driving on ice: they both reduce traction. Reduced traction and a last-minute decisions can lead to a loss of control. Yes, a skid. Leaves might also hide important information like painted road markings, and hazards like potholes and bumps.
Slow down early for corners and routine stops – be proactive to changing road conditions. Remember leaves don’t always stay where they have fallen!
Dry leaves can cause problems too! They can get trapped in the engine compartment and get sucked into the air filter! Too many leaves will clog your air filter (meaning you will have to replace it) or, in a worst-case scenario, the dry leaves can be a fire hazard.
One final tip: keep your windshield free of leaves to prevent them from getting stuck under the windshield wiper blades. Visibility is not an option!
Be Aware of Black Ice
Just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Although it’s more common in the winter, black ice (also called clear ice) can happen whenever temperatures drop—and fall is no exception. Black ice is most common it on bridges, overpasses, shaded areas (and there are lots of them given the shorter days and the angle of the sun) and sections of road that are not well travelled.
Adjust your speed to the driving conditions. Anticipate potential traction problems.
Protect Yourself From Sun Glare
Have you ever wondered why sun glare is so strong during the fall?
It’s because the sun sets earlier than in summer and it sits lower in the sky. This creates glare which can be particularly annoying just as the sun rises and shortly before the sun sets. Plan your drive to avoid driving directly into the glare. Even just a few minutes will allow the sun’s position to be less distracting. Remember a good pair of sunglasses is essential. Don’t forget about the visor!
Make sure to have a pair of sunglasses ready in your car and always keep your windshield clean, as dirt can worsen the glare.
Beware of Wildlife
Did you know that you’re 3.5 times as likely to hit an animal, specifically deer, in November than any other month?
That’s what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found.
The reason being is, fall is mating season for many animals, and herds are more likely to run into the roadway at dawn and dusk. If you happen to see deer, do not move into the other lane without checking your blind spots and making sure your escape route is clear as it might cause a collision. Consider using your brakes first instead.
There Are More Nighttime Hours!
Fall is the beginning of shorter days and longer nights. Even with the best headlights money can buy, driving at night is different that driving in the daylight.
Drivers see less detail at night and rely more heavily on peripheral vision. Doesn’t night driving remind you of driving in a tunnel? Your vision is limited to the distance that your head lights light up. Driving too fast to stop within the distance that your headlights illuminate is called overdriving your headlights. Slow down and use high beam headlights when you can.
It goes without saying that cleaning your headlights regularly helps too!
Prepare for Frost Season
Canadian weather can change from one moment to the next, and being unprepared in case of rain can be a problem. Excessive water can cause hydroplaning on the road, so slow down and don’t accelerate abruptly: the faster you drive, the less traction you’ll have if you need to stop suddenly.
Frost is caused by dropping temperatures in the morning, at night and on chilly fall days, so let your windows defrost before leaving. Finally, you should begin using winter windshield washer fluid as temperatures drop at night with winter around the corner. Speaking of which, you might as well get yourself ready for winter.
Fall is a season of transition in Canada, and as such, drivers need to make sure that they have everything they need to travel as safely as possible. By following these tips, you will be able to navigate the new season smoothly and worry-free.