Driving Safe in the Fall

Driving Safe in the Fall

People from all over the United States flock to New England during the fall to admire our impressive foliage. One could drive through rural Connecticut for hours under the cover of our dazzling leaves. And while the leaves may be beautiful it creates a unique hazard for all drivers during this season. In piles by the road, they obscure potholes, curbs and can make it hard to tell the difference between the road and the shoulder, not to mention all the passing cars whip stray leaves into the air and onto the road on an almost constant basis but the real danger lies in the fact that in the fall, weather conditions can turn from perfect to perfectly scary at the drop of a hat and wet leaves in the roadway are no joke. In this article we’ll be discussing safety tips for driving in the fall.

Your tires are the critical connection between car and road no matter the  weather, so making sure they are performing well is crucial to your safety. Make sure the inflation level is correct (if you’re not sure in some cases it is located on the driver side door when opened fully) and that the treads are not worn down. Also inspect the sidewalls of your tires for cracks and punctures.

The most important safety feature on any vehicle are the brakes.  At your next oil change, make sure that your brake linings, drums and rotors, as well as brake fluid are checked. Also be sure to replace your windshield wipers if there is any damage on them such as cracks, any chattering to be heard when in use and if streaking on your windshield is occuring; wipers are your first line of defense in a downpour.

Now that we’ve got vehicle maintenence covered, we can move into driving tips and dangers to watch for in the fall.

With the weather getting colder, the occasional frost will begin forming. When close to freezing temperature, bridges and overpasses will become icy much more quickly than an ordinary road because ordinary roads are able to retain heat. Be sure to reduce your speed if you’re travelling on an overpass or bridge on a chilly morning. Just as perilous as ice, fallen leaves contain lots of moisture and are easy to skid and slide on. Avoid hard braking and drive slowly through any patches of leaves that you are unable to avoid.

Another caution to watch out for during the fall is the fact that children are starting to go back to school and the school buses will be making their rounds once again. It is your responsibility as a driver to remain safe around vehicles carrying children; in the presence of a bus with an extended stop arm and flashing red lights, stop and remain stopped until the warnings are withdrawn. The only time a driver is not required to stop is when approaching the front of the school bus on a completely separated roadway, not just the other side of the line.

As the year begins to come to a close, the sun will be rising later and setting earlier, therefore you may find yourself being blinded unexpectedly.  Ensure your windows are free of debris and keep sunglasses handy. When using the visor, push it all of the way forward and then pull it back into an appropriate position to block the sun, not being too close because in the event of an accident it could cause serious injuries.

Fog will also start creeping over as the weather turns colder. A common misconception is that your high-beams will increase your visibility in fog; this is not the case. The more light, the more it will bounce off the fog, making it look thicker and therefore decreasing your visibilty. Deer are also a problem in some wooded areas because fall is their migration season. If you live in a forested area, keep an eye out for deer darting across the road, especially at dawn and dusk.

We here at SAVA Insurance Group hope that these tips will help you to make safe decisions on the autumn roads. Don’t hesitate to call out office at 860-437-7282 if you have any questions about fall driving!

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