Fall is a favorite time of the year for many of us. If you’re fortunate to live in a climate that is conducive to the beauty of the changing color of leaves, it can also be a time of increased vehicular traffic on your streets. In fact, there are a number of conditions that transpire during Fall that can affect safety on the roads. Here are five that deserve your attention in regards to being safe when driving no matter what your age.
The Return of School Days
Fall means that children, adolescents, and young adults are back in school. This tends to have an impact on traffic conditions as school buses and an increase in vehicles will be apparent on roadways, especially near neighboring schools. Not only that but pedestrian traffic increases due to children walking to school or to and from their school buses.
Follow these safety suggestions to avoid dangers to yourself and others:
- Be extra cautious when driving because children just back to school after summer break might not be as aware of vehicular traffic as they should be.
- Do not under any circumstances pass a school bus that has stopped to pick up or drop off children. Look for flashing lights and extended “Stop” arms on the bus. Even if they’re not present, it’s better to be safe and stop until the bus resumes driving.
- Teen drivers, statistically speaking, can be a danger to themselves and others, so be on your guard as you encounter them driving to and from school.
Changing Weather Conditions
In many climates, Fall means weather conditions can change dramatically and rapidly. Best to be aware of how it might impact driving conditions and prepare accordingly.
- When Fall rains combine with cooler temperatures and then mix with leaves that might be present on the roadways, you need to be extra cautious when driving as the damp leaves might cause your vehicle to skid.
- It’s not unusual to see an increase in fog during Fall, especially during early morning hours. Be aware and drive accordingly, leaving a little more space between vehicles than usual. Do not use your high beams as this only adds to conditions of glare that affect visibility.
- With the drop of temperature during Fall, it is not uncommon for ice and frost to become more prevalent. Extreme caution regarding these conditions should be followed, especially on bridges and freeway overpasses. Be aware that visibility is often reduced during conditions of ice and frost.
Glare on Roads
Fall is known to increase glare on roadways due to the sun moving closer to the horizon. This is especially prevalent when the sun is setting behind the driver. It is also advisable to be aware that sun glare can affect the visibility of traffic lights. Keep your vehicle’s windows clean and free from debris and grime, both inside and out, because a dirty window combined with excessive sun glare can increase the likelihood of hazardous driving conditions.
Changes in Light
Fall is the time of year when our clocks typically fall back to standard time. This means that evenings grow darker sooner, and this can have a big impact of the safety of the roadways. The end of daylight savings time combined with early sunsets can greatly reduce visibility when you’re driving.
Beware of Animals
If you live in an area where deer are prevalent you can expect to see an increase in activity from them during Fall, often on and near roadways. Because deer mate during the month of November, more of them are hit by vehicles as they dart onto roadways in order to cross to different terrain than at any other time of the year. If you see deer crossing signs posted, slow down and be extra careful so as to avoid hitting one.
Fall is a great time of year, however, it does come with some valid safety concerns when you drive a motor vehicle. Being aware of the factors that might affect your safety will go a long way in preventing accidents.
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