After a long, hot summer of good weather, it can be difficult to adjust to autumn driving again. However, it is important to take the changing seasons into account whenever you set out on the road, whether for a long drive or a short daily commute. We have collected 5 vital tips for driving in the fall that will keep you a little safer as the nights draw in.
1. Remember it’s back to school season
If you don’t have school-aged children then it can be easy to forget that September heralds the time of year when schools are back in session. This can make it more challenging to drive at certain times of day, such as early morning and late afternoon. No matter where you live or when you travel, be aware of children who may be crossing the road at any time of day – especially if school opening and closing times coincide with your commute.
2. Be aware of glare
After the high sun of summer, it is a surprise to find how low the sun is in autumn. You may find that you are experiencing more glare than usual, and this can be dangerous as it can stop you from seeing clearly. Make sure to plan ahead and keep sunglasses in your car so that you can pop them on when necessary (prescription sunglasses may be beneficial if you wear glasses to drive). You should also make sure that your windows and mirrors are clean to optimize your awareness of your surroundings. And if the sun is too bright and low for you to avoid it dazzling you, wait a while before setting off.
3. Stay mindful during night drives
The daylight seems to stretch on forever during the summer, but as soon as fall arrives, the days become dramatically shorter. For those who leave the house early or come home later, or if you drive long distances, this can make a huge difference to your experience.
If you will be driving at night more often due to the seasonal shift, make sure to consider things like fatigue levels and your eyesight during long drives. Many people struggle with driving in the dark, so this might require you to visit an optician to find a possible solution. Driving at night requires you to be more aware of your surroundings, as well as things like being dazzled by the lights of fellow road users, so don’t be complacent on short trips.
4. Keep an eye on the weather
Fall weather can be extremely changeable – warm and bright one moment, cold and wet the next. Before you set out on your drive, be mindful of the weather forecast and any inclement conditions that might make driving more of a challenge. Even if it is sunny outside in the morning, there may still be frost or ice on the roads from the previous night, or you might find that the roads are still slick from rainfall.
Keeping this in mind will help you to drive more judiciously. And while falling leaves don’t technically come under “weather”, they can create slippery conditions too, so look out for those while driving. What’s more, they can block your drainage outlets and even serve as a potential fire hazard.
5. Check your tires and fluids
Your car has been reliable and trustworthy all summer, but now is the perfect time to consider doing some basic checks to keep yourself safe as autumn and winter get underway. You will need to ensure that your antifreeze is at a decent level, as you will need it to combat those very cold conditions. Your windshield wipers will need to be in good repair, with plenty of wiper fluid to clean off the streaks left by rain, snow, and even autumn foliage – this will improve your vision and prevent potential further damage to your car. You should also check your tires to ensure they are safe and compliant with legal requirements for your vehicle.
Autumn driving can be safe and enjoyable as long as you take the proper precautions and care when you set out on your travels. Even the most familiar drive might feel new with different weather conditions and earlier sunsets, so be mindful. With these tips, you can feel confident during those beautiful autumn drives. And trust us, there are plenty of them out there to go and see.