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Fall Driving Safety Tips

With the beauty of the fall season beginning to show in many areas, it's hard not to want to gaze as gorgeous changing leaves for a few seconds longer as you drive down the roads through your hometown. Fall is truly one of the showiest seasons, giving us a look at the earth's majesty and splendor with a beautifully colored and ever-changing backdrop. In that split second that you gaze a bit longer at the burst of red or yellow hanging from the tree limbs, you could potentially meet a patch of black ice or unexpected fog, causing you to have an accident. In order to best protect yourself and others (be they drivers or pedestrians) this fall, here are a few things to keep in mind while driving.

Give yourself time in the mornings

When temperatures fall overnight during the fall season, it could result in frosted car windows and icy roadways. Just because we're months away from winter doesn't mean that winter-like instances can occur during the fall season. On cool or cold mornings, give yourself a few extra minutes to warm up your car before you take off down the road. Scrape any frost or ice off your windshield and windows, or use your defrost setting to help speed up the process. 

Don't wear heavy coats in the car. 

Nothing will have you sweating faster than your heart on full blast while you're in a heavy coat. Sure, wear it outside of the car. Once the car is warmed up, you don't need to wear it while you're driving. Bulky coats can cause safety problems when it comes to how well you're able to move when you need to react to a situation which may pop up while you're driving.

Kids and coats? 

It's not a good idea to place kids in bulky outerwear into their car seats or boosters, or even in the regular seat of the car in a regular seatbelt. If there's a bunch of padding between your child and the actual safety belt, the safety belt can't do its job to protect your child properly. A light sweater or jacket will be okay for them to wear in the car, but remove bulky coats before buckling, and let them use a blanket to cover up with if they are cold in the car.

Be aware of the possibility of poor visibility

Rain, fog, ice... they can all pop up when you're least expecting them. Rain can occur at any given moment, so it's best to exercise caution when driving through rainy areas. Slow down and take your time. If you're driving on a busy highway or interstate, don't let other drivers bully you into driving faster than you feel comfortable with. Make your way over to the far right lane, which usually allows for slower traffic flow. Make sure your lights are on, and that you are using your windshield wipers at a steady pace so you can see properly.

If you hit fog, use dimmed lights, if possible. Trying to use bright lights in fog will only make it harder to see and can pose a problem for other drivers around you- you're all fighting the same battle, and everyone is trying to make it to a clear area. Reduce your speed and pay extra close attention to cars in front of you.

Watch for pedestrians

You likely do this already, but give extra time for pedestrians to cross at crosswalks, and make sure you're looking out for them. As the weather becomes mild, watch for children at bus stops or in neighborhoods who may be playing outside, riding bikes, walking pets, etc.

Being able to enjoy the fall season is one of those simple joys in life. Take care of yourself, your family, your car, and watch for those around you to ensure everyone stays safe this fall.

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