6 REASONS WHY DRIVING IN AUTUMN CAN BE DANGEROUS
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As weather and road conditions change with the season, following a few basic fall driving safety tips will help keep you and your family safe as you enjoy the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves.
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6 Reasons Why Driving in Autumn Can Be Dangerous
As the summer season fades into fall and long sunny days wane into short chilly nights, it’s time to take a moment and review some safety tips when driving during this fall season. Fall means a number of wonderful things, like warm, comfy sweaters, foliage, and baking pumpkin pies. As weather and road conditions change with the season, following a few basic fall driving safety tips will help keep you and your family safe as you enjoy the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves.
While you may think that winter is the most dangerous season for driving (and in many respects it is, thanks to heavy snow, freezing rain, and black ice), however it has been statistically proven that August is the most dangerous month to drive. According to Kansas Department of Transportation 2016 study on Traffic Crash Statistics – the months of September, October, and November are when the most crashes occur throughout the year. Stay safe on the road this season with these smart driving tips.
Fall means back to school for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers also need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.
As the temperatures start to drop and we move toward winter, overnight temperatures can get low enough to cause frost. Morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses and shaded spots on the road. Slow down and try to pay extra close attention.
Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. This only makes visibility worse because your high beams will bounce off the fog and create glare.
About 1 of every 100 drivers will hit a deer during the driver’s life behind the wheel, says animal-rights group PETA. As the seasons change so does the amount of animal activity. If you live in an area where there are deer, they are more apt to run into the roadway especially at dawn and dusk since the fall is an active breeding time. You’re 3.5 times more likely to hit an animal — especially a deer — in November than at any other time of the year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety cautions. If you see a deer cross the roadway, proceed very slowly as they often travel in groups.
As the leaves begin to fall, they can wreak havoc on the roads by covering traffic lines and pavement markings. In addition, when leaves on the roads get wet, they can be just as slippery as ice. When leaves accumulate on the roadway and become wet, they can get extremely slippery, making the driving conditions similar to driving on ice. If you’re driving along a road that is covered in leaves, whether they are dry or wet, slow down, drive with extra caution, and avoid braking hard.
Fall sunrises and sunsets can be very beautiful; however, the bright sun often creates a large amount of glare, making it difficult to see other vehicles, the roadway or the road’s shoulder. This is because the sun moves closer to the horizon — which keeps it pointed straight into your eyes and makes it more likely to reflect at low angles off other cars, buildings and windows. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the car in front of you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers describe being “blinded” after exposure, and this sometimes leads to accidents or near misses.
Tips to Help Keep You Safe
- Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car at all the times
- Remove clutter from your sun visor so it can easily be used
- Keep the inside of your windshields clean and streak-free
Naturally safe driving practices are essential all through the year. However, knowing what to look for and using these tips can help you avoid weather-related car accidents in the fall. Following the fall driving safety tips here will make you a safer, more aware driver.