As the seasons change, driving safety becomes more critical. The longer sunny days of summer begin to change to the shorter days of fall, and weather conditions influence morning and evening commutes. Autumn weather can be uncertain, and conditions can change in minutes. Every motorist should keep top of mind the following fall driving safety tips to avoid a car accident.
Changing Weather Changes the Way You Drive
As the summer ends, it is time to pay more attention to the local weather forecast. Fall weather can transform fast from warm to cold, causing frost on roads and even some icy roadways. Sudden storms pass through quickly. Drive with more caution and keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Be aware of areas where black ice forms on the roadway, bridges, and overpasses. Go slowly when driving across overpasses and bridges, as these surfaces tend to get slick before other surfaces. It may be wise to keep a car care kit, first-aid kit, and jumper cables in your vehicle during the colder months.
Foggy Driving Forces Extra Caution
When driving in foggy weather, you should set your headlights low instead of high. High-beam headlights bounce from fog and reflect at you, further impairing your ability to see the road. Low beams aim down toward the roadway, which improves your visibility. Slow down and leave plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you, so you have ample time to brake if necessary.
Shorter Days Means It Gets Dark Early
After the fall equinox in September, you will likely be driving both to and from work in the dark. When you travel in the dark, it is vital to let your eyes adjust to the lower light before you leave. Experts say it may take several minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Also, keep your headlights clean and in proper working order, as dim or misaligned headlights can decrease your visibility. You should always watch for pedestrians walking, jogging, or biking through the streets. It would help if you also kept in mind to be aware of children walking to and from bus stops in the morning and afternoon hours.
Leaves Create Slick Roads
Autumn colors are beautiful. However, leaves accumulated on roadways, especially those wet with dew or rain, can be as slippery as ice. This can be a dangerous driving hazard, and you should steer clear immediately. If avoiding the fallen foliage is not possible, you should avoid abrupt braking on wet leaves. This sudden braking causes loss of traction and increases the possibility of skidding, which is especially treacherous on winding roads and roads with many turns.
Leaves spread across roads make it hard for drivers to see the pavement and any hidden obstacles, such as potholes. Remember that you also may not be able to detect traffic indications painted on the pavement, such as crosswalks.
School Is Back
Fall means that school is back in session and school zones are back to working order. School buses are back on the roads, and school zones are flashing at drivers. Watch out for youngsters boarding and exiting buses and crossing streets. Children can be unpredictable and can suddenly walk or run across the street. Follow the rules that govern driving in school zones and near school buses.
Beware of High Glare
Glare is worse in fall and winter because of the naturally lower position of the sun in the sky. Glare leads to the right angle for the sun to have a blinding effect as it hits your windshield. Polarizing sunglasses, a clean windshield, and window tinting can combat the effects of fall glare. However, if you commute around sunrise and sunset, it might be wise to avoid east-west roads, if possible.
Watch Out for Deer
Deer season runs from October through December. This is mating season, hunters are out, and deer are on the move more than any other time of year. Many find their way onto roads and highways, increasing deer-vehicle collisions. If you live in an area with a large deer population, drive carefully, especially at dawn and dusk. Many unsuspecting motorists have collided with a deer that suddenly jumped in front of their car.
Ensure Your Car Is Carefully Maintained
Here are some ways to ensure your car is ready for the colder weather.
- Check your car’s battery, and if it has been more three years, consider changing your car’s battery. Make sure your battery’s connections are tight and corrosion-free.
- Check the air pressure in your tires. Tires lose one to two pounds for every 10-degree temperature drop.
- Check that your wheels are aligned, rotate your tires, and replace tires with low tread.
- Check your brake linings, rotors, and drums for wear.
- Ensure your heater and ventilation system work properly to protect yourself and passengers from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Replace the antifreeze at the appropriate intervals.
- Replace windshield wipers and fill up the washer reservoir.
- Adjust your headlights if they seem too dim; you can ask your mechanic if they are correctly aligned. Also, you should keep your headlights clean.
Alexandria Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Clients in Fall Season Car Accidents
If you suffer from injuries after a car accident, you should contact the Alexandria car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our dedicated legal team will do an investigation to determine who is responsible for causing the accident. We can help protect your rights and get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.