Fall is almost here in all its breezy and colorful glory. While the fall is arguably the most beautiful time to go for a drive, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to ensure that your drive is as safe as it is beautiful.
Here are our top tips for driving in the fall.
#1: Make sure your car is prepared.
The changing of the seasons marks a great time to check in with your car and make sure it is properly maintained and prepared for fall driving. This means taking the following steps to ensure your car is in proper working order:
- Check on all fluid levels and top off accordingly. Change your oil if it’s due.
- Check all lights on your car, including headlights, turn signals, and brake lights.
- Check your wipers blades and replace them if necessary.
- Check on your heating system.
The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping at night, and damp leaves are starting to accumulate. All of these factors make driving more hazardous, so making sure your car is ready for anything that might come your way is incredibly important.
#2. Check your tires.
While this technically fits in with “making sure your car is prepared”, it’s so important this time of year that it needs its own safety tip space to shine. Check your tires and ensure they have good tread and are wearing evenly. If your tires are wearing unevenly you may have an issue with alignment and should take your car into the mechanic to have them inspect it. If your tread is low, replace your tires as soon as possible. You also want to keep an eye on your tire pressure. The colder temperatures will cause the air to contract and decrease pressure, which can make your tires underinflated. This is not only dangerous but bad for your car. The bottom line is make sure your tires are good before the winter begins.
#3. Stock up your emergency kit.
You should already have an emergency kit loaded in your car with all of the essentials (if you don’t, start one as soon as possible!). But it’s good to take everything out and make sure you have everything you may need. Check that your snacks are still good, your bottle of water is intact, and your first aid kit is restocked with bandaids. You don’t want to be stuck without something you need, especially now that the nights are getting colder.
#4. Be ready for shifting light patterns.
Sunrise is happening later and later and sunset is happening earlier and earlier. This means that the sun glare while driving will affect most people much more. Be sure to keep sunglasses in your car for when the glare becomes too much, keep your windshield clean, and make sure your windshield fluid is topped off.
#5. Prepare for driving with leaves.
Falling leaves are beautiful but they create a boatload of safety issues when driving. Here are some of the top things to keep in mind:
- Wet leaves decrease friction significantly which makes them very dangerous to drive on. It’s all too easy to lose control of your vehicle when they are slick on the road. Make sure to slow down ahead of time and take your time on bends.
- As the temperatures drop, leaves can become icy, making them even more dangerous.
- Dry leaves can also reduce friction.
- Leaves on the road can cover up potholes and road markings.
- Leaf peepers can create dangerous driving conditions all by themselves. They may drive below the speed limit, miss signs, and just not pay attention in general.
Be sure to pay extra attention when the leaves are falling and make sure the leaves are removed from your hood and wipers to prevent any issues with visibility.
#6. Be on the lookout for deer.
Deer breed in the fall, which means that not only are they out and about more, but they are hopped up on hormones and usually a little less skittish than normal. Be extra vigilant when driving, especially at dusk and dawn when they are more active. If you do see a deer in the road, put your hazards on and drive slowly. Alerting other drivers will help everyone avoid an accident.
#7. Consider school traffic.
When kids head back to school there is more school traffic to consider. Buses will be out on the roads, kids will be walking to and from school, and kids will be playing outside after school in the beautiful weather. Be especially careful when driving by leaf piles. Kids love to play and hide in them, so avoid driving through and near them and all costs.
#8. Gear up for frost.
Dew and rain this time of year combined with dropping temperatures means that frost is inevitable. This can make for very slick areas that may appear innocuous but are actually pretty dangerous. Many are prepared for this in the winter, but when slick conditions appear in the fall they are unprepared. Be sure to monitor the temperature as you are driving and if it starts getting cold, increase your vigilance.
#9. Prepare for night driving.
As the sun sets earlier and earlier, the chances are you will be driving in the dark more often. And driving at night is actually much more dangerous than driving during the day. According to the National Safety Council while only 25% of driving occurs at night, 50% of all accidents occur at night. This is because depth perception, peripheral vision, glare, and color recognition are all affected by the dark, making everyone a less safe driver while on the road at night.
#10. Double check your insurance, registration, and car loan information.
Again, the change of the seasons can serve as a good reminder to ensure all of your car-related paperwork is in order. Is your insurance up to date and valid? Is your registration current? Are your car loan payments manageable? How does your interest rate compare to other rates on the market? Refinancing your loan can help secure a lower interest rate and better repayment terms, which can help free up some money before the holiday season hits. Use this time to check in and ensure everything is up to date and you are satisfied with your car loan.
Those are our top tips for driving in the fall.
Take the time to prepare your car and your mindset for fall time driving to make sure you enjoy the season. Keep yourself, your loved ones, and your car safe while hitting the roads this season.
Interested in refinancing your car loan? Contact Auto Approve today!