Fall is a great time of year, full of pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving dinners, hay rides and all those other awesome autumn activities. While it’s not as dangerous as winter can be in much of the United States, the fall season has its own dangers when it comes to driving conditions that you should be prepared for to stay as safe as possible. Keep these 5 safety tips in mind when driving this autumn and you will be ahead of the game!
1. Give Your Eyes Time to Adjust
Many people don’t realize on average it takes 2-5 minutes for the human eye to adjust to big changes in light and darkness. Considering the fact that we are losing 1-2 minutes of daylight following the autumnal equinox, sooner or later it’s going to start being dark on your drive home. If you work in a well lit office, you may want to wait 5 minutes or so to make sure your eyes have fully adjusted to the darkness.
The laws of physics state that heat rises. Because of this, relatively warmer air rises from underneath the bridge and can cause ice to form sooner than you would see otherwise. While fall is not as frigid as winter, freezing temperatures are not altogether uncommon and so you should be extra careful when approaching bridges to look out for ice. If you’ve ever wondered why you see those signs before bridges that say something to the effect of “Bridge Ices Before Roads”, this is why. As ice forms, warm air from under the bridge rises and melts it, but then it is again quickly cooled to ice. This process can repeat over and over and cause especially slick ice.
3. If it’s raining, drive like it is raining.
Many people know that they must drive a lot more carefully in the snow, but don’t give rain the same type of respect. The thing is, while not as dangerous as snow, rain affects your visibility and traction, both of which pose safety concerns for any motorist. Make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition, and also be sure to leave more distance than you typically would between yourself and the cars in front of you. Avoid using high-beams in rainy condition as they typically make visibility worse, instead use low-beam or fog lights. If there has been a lot of rain, you should also go slower and be extra cautious about hydroplaning spots. One tip for avoiding hydroplaning is to try and stay toward the middle of the road, especially on multilane highways – as the roads are designed and contoured to drain from the middle to the sides to prevent road flooding.
4. Avoid Sun Glare
Sunglasses can help with sun glare, but when it’s bad there’s nothing you can really do. Instead, simply try to avoid sun glare as it is really especially bad about twice a day for 15-45 minutes, directly after sunrise and directly before sunset. Try to schedule your day so that you don’t have to drive during these times if possible.
5. Make Sure Your Tires and Wheels are in Good Shape!
Make sure that your tires have plenty of tread and no air leaks. Also, inspect your OEM wheels for any bends that may cause an air leak in the future. If you have some dents or bends on your wheel, but no air leak, it may be the next pothole you hit that starts a small leak! Additionally, be sure to make sure you still have all of your OEM hubcaps attached to protect your wheel hardware from the elements.
Stay tuned for more driving safety tips, vehicle spotlights and more from Blackburn. Next month we’ll be posting a spotlight on the history of the popular Subaru Impreza.