Tips For Driving Safely in The Fall

It’s that time of year: the leaves change colours and the air is getting cooler. Yes, fall is here! From having a few frosty mornings to having shorter days, the changing seasons can bring new driving challenges, especially if you’re a new driver. Staying safe on the road this fall means following these helpful driving tips.

Although driving can be a pleasurable pastime, especially at this time of year, there are a few seasonal dangers that drivers should be aware of. The conditions change quickly; from wet or frozen leaves on the road to quickly changing conditions turning into black ice, driving in the fall can present drivers with very challenging conditions that do require additional attention.

Since road and driving conditions change with the start of the fall, here are a few driving safety tips to help you as you begin to drive in the fall season.

driving safely in the fall

Be aware of different driving factors

When fall arrives, it brings many factors that drivers must constantly become aware of. Drivers will battle with increased glare with the sun lower on the horizon. The changing times of sunrise and sunset in the fall will make a big change in the light conditions for drivers. This is particularly true while driving during rush hour.

As the fall season moves into winter, we have fewer daylight hours than the summer season. During the late afternoon, it becomes more difficult to see pedestrians crossing the road, cyclists, and children playing on the streets.

Foggy conditions are also more common in the fall and early winter. These conditions can reduce visibility, making driving a little more difficult. During the cold mornings, it can cause frost to appear on your windows, which adds to the poor visibility. Ensure all of your windows are completely clear before driving away. Having a squeegee to remove the morning dew helps, and an ice scraper is good, too, and not just a winter driving tool.

Best driving tips for driving in the fall

There are many increased things to be aware of while driving during the fall season. Changing your driving habits to help you accommodate for the change in weather and road conditions will help you remain safe on the road, for example:

  1. Stopping time: Give yourself plenty of time to stop at intersections, especially when the roads are wet or cold. This would also include braking early when following other vehicles.
  1. Get a seasonal tune-up: Schedule a seasonal tune-up at your local automotive garage to top up your fluids and ensure your vehicle is ready for the upcoming season. This may include switching your tires from all-season to winter tires. Winter tires should be installed when the temperature is consistently at or below 7 degrees Celsius.
  1. Reduce speed while turning: Slow down more than normal when taking corners since traction may be less than ideal.
  2. Beware of leaves on the road: The leaves on the road, both wet and dry, are very slippery. This is because they are loose and do not allow tire traction. Reduce speed before driving across them and avoid sudden steering. A large pile of leaves may also hide a large pothole.
  1. Additional sun glare: Keep a pair of quality sunglasses in your glove box for those days with high sun glare. The brightness reflecting off wet roads can also make it difficult to see.
  1. Appearance of black ice: Black ice can begin in the fall when the temperatures drop overnight. Pay attention on damp days when temperatures are around the freezing point. If you reach black ice and your vehicle begins to skid, ease off the accelerator and look ahead. You may have to abandon your turn at that time and go around the block. Attempting to make that turn while skidding may cause a more severe skid.
  1. Give yourself additional time: Whether it’s time to clear your windows of morning dew or frost, there is no reason to rush out the door. Get out early to clear them off so you won’t feel tempted to rush during your commute.

Getting your vehicle ready

Now that we’re in the fall season, it’s not just the driver that needs to be prepared. The changing fall weather conditions mean that it is time to prepare your vehicle for the colder weather. Vehicle maintenance tips such as checking your washer fluid, lights, and wiper blades can go a long way in keeping you safe on the road. Here are some more tips for preparing your vehicle for the fall season.

  1. Wiper blades: Check your wiper blades to ensure they are in good condition for colder weather, or switch to premium winter wiper blades. For the average driver, you should change your wiper blade twice a year: the fall and the spring.
  2. Tire pressure: Make regular checks of your tire pressure. Cold weather can cause your tires to lose air pressure. Always check the tires when cold, such as first thing in the morning after your vehicle sits idle overnight. The air pressure in the tires heats up as you drive, so checking them after driving will give you a false reading.
  3. Winter tires: When the temperature drops below 7°Celsius, it’s time to book an appointment for your winter tires. Winter tires have a softer rubber compound than all-season tires to grip the road better. They are designed for the season, not just the elements.
  1. Washer fluid: When fall comes, ensure the washer fluid you use is designed to work in cold weather without freezing. The best fluids are usually rated for temperatures of at least – 35°C.
  1. Headlights: Since you may be driving more often after the sun goes down, ensure your headlights are clean, working, and aimed correctly.

You can do a lot to prepare yourself and your vehicle for driving safely in the fall. Take the time to prepare, and you’ll feel more comfortable and confident behind the wheel.