Autumn is a beautiful time to take a drive, but each season has its perils. Know what fall driving hazards await you, and you’re one step closer to avoiding them.
The first thing most people think of when they think of fall is, of course, the awe-inspiring array of foliage. But this vibrant, eye-catching delight can pose a danger on the road in two ways. First, it can be distracting. Second, when the leaves fall to the ground and mix with rain, you’ve got yourself a real slip trap. Rain alone poses a hydroplaning threat. Downed leaves create extra opportunities for losing traction, and they keep the moisture around longer. Not a cool combo.
Fog and Frost
The extra humidity combined with the changing temperature also creates perfect conditions for lots of fog. Fog reduces visibility all around, but especially creates problems at night. Depending on where you live, fall might also bring a bit of morning frost. This makes surfaces slippery and clings to your windshield, which can endanger visibility if you don’t let your car warm up before hitting the road.
Increased Traffic; Decreased Daylight
Aside from weather, the timing of autumn coincides with other events that ultimately make the road a little less safe. For one, school is back in session. That means more traffic in the morning and afternoon, and increased foot traffic in school zones. Fall at dusk is also when deer are most active, and where there’s one, there’s usually a whole group, all (seemingly) waiting to dart in front of your car. To add to all that, the sun sets earlier every night, eventually at the most inconvenient time of rush hour, which can blind you as you drive.
Autumnal Auto Care Advice
In many ways, it feels like nature has it out for you in the fall, despite all those pretty colors. Your best defense is two-fold: vigilance and maintenance. Always remain aware of potential hazards and take extra care to spot them before it’s too late. Beyond that, make sure your car is ready for the season. Get a new pair of windshield wipers; make sure your tire treads aren’t overly worn; and monitor tire pressure. If your headlights are foggy or in any other way problematic, get on that.
Basically, stay on top of car maintenance to be the most prepared leaf peeper you can be. There are still plenty of reasons to head out there and enjoy the season, so just give yourself a little more time and always be actively aware of your surroundings.
Check out all the vision and safety products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on fall driving hazards, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.