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How to Avoid Autumn Driving Hazards

Driver's perspective of wet road and fall scenery in the Pacific Northwest USA.

Autumn Driving Hazards

When you think of hazardous driving conditions, winter weather is probably what comes to mind. However, fall has plenty of threats that warrant caution as well. As you drive around Northern Colorado and beyond this fall, stay safe with these tips to avoid autumn driving hazards.

Watch Out for Kids

When school goes back in session, that’s your cue to drive extra carefully around school zones, especially in the morning and afternoon hours when kids are coming and going. Heed reduced speed limits around schools and stop for school buses that are picking up and dropping off kids.

Some children might ignore the rule of looking both ways before they cross the street. Distractions such as looking at their cell phones and listening to music on headphones only increase the chances of an incident, so be extra vigilant this time of year.

Heed the Longer Nights

While about 25 percent of driving is done at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths occur when it’s dark out, states the National Safety Council. Older drivers tend to have the worst time of it because night vision diminishes with age.

Daylight hours gradually diminish as winter approaches, but when Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November, the sun suddenly sets a whole hour earlier than you’re used to. Keep this in mind as you consider how longer nights will affect your morning and evening commutes this fall.

Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety declares that drivers are 3.5 times more likely to hit a wild animal, especially a deer, in November than any other month. This is the mating season for deer and other animals, which means they are out and about a lot. Deer are also most active at dawn and dusk when a low sun creates the worst glare for drivers. To prevent an accident, be attentive at these times of day, especially when driving through the mountains.

Drive Slower in the Rain & Snow

Wet roads can be hazardous any time of the year, but add fallen leaves to the mix and the roads become exceptionally slippery in autumn. Bad road conditions this time of year also come as a shock to residents who haven’t driven in bad weather for months. Remember to take it slow when the weather is poor, and follow the car in front of you at a safe distance.

Maintain Your Tires

If it’s been awhile since you last checked your tire tread, fall is the perfect time to do so. If it looks like you need new tires, consider buying winter tires for the upcoming season. Then, when you switch back to all-season tires in the spring, hold onto your winter tires to use again next year.

In addition to using the right tires, make sure you keep them at the proper pressure to ensure a smooth, safe, energy-efficient ride. Not sure what your tire pressure should be? Check the decal posted on the driver’s side door jamb. (The pressure listed on the tire itself is the maximum for that tire, which could be wrong for your car.)

Beware of Glare

The sun tracks through the sky closer to the horizon in the winter, causing sunrises and sunsets to last slightly longer. Light is also more likely to reflect off of building windows and other cars and straight into your eyes. These factors create excessive glare, as do headlights and streetlamps reflecting off of wet roads, which are more common in the fall than the summer.

To decrease the effect of glare, wear sunglasses when you drive during the day, and avoid looking directly into the lights of oncoming traffic at night. Also, clean your windshield, maintain your windshield wipers, and tend to windshield chips before they turn into cracks.

Avoid Autumn Driving Hazards with Help from Scott’s

If you need assistance with vehicle maintenance that will help you avoid autumn driving hazards, bring your car to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto today. We offer tire replacement, windshield repair and replacement, and other services you’re sure to find useful. To schedule automotive services in Northern Colorado, please call us at (970) 682-4202 today or set your appointment online.

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