The fall season brings many wonderful things, including technicolor leaves and cooler temperatures. But it also brings autumn driving hazards, including wet leaves, fog and frost.
Here’s how to anticipate and stay safe in potentially dangerous fall driving situations, whether it’s your daily commute or shopping expedition, or a weekend getaway.
Autumn Driving Hazards – Rain, Fog, Wet Leaves
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, a road with wet leaves can be even more slippery than an icy road, and require more distance to stop than on snow or ice.
Combine that with lower temperatures and you’ll find that your tires may have less grip than they did during the summer months.
NHTSA Safety Tips –
- What should you do if your vehicle loses traction and begins to skid? Take your foot off the gas but DO NOT slam on the brakes.
- Braking hard will only increase the slide.
- Point your wheels in the direction you want your vehicle to go. As your vehicle straightens out, you’ll need to adjust your steering again.
That’s also how to regain control on snow and ice. Remember – easy does it.
Drive cautiously in wet conditions – that includes driving slower than you would on a dry road.
Autumn Driving Hazards – Deer Collisions
According to PetKeen, there are 1.5 million accidents each year involving deer, with drivers hitting them or swerving to miss them.
One million deer are killed annually, and property damage is estimated at $1 Billion from car-deer accidents.
Deer are most active from October to January, especially during the dusk and dawn hours. A collision with a deer can do severe damage to your vehicle.
Avoid deer on the roadways by slowing down during peak hours, paying attention to road signs and using your high beams to increase visibility when possible.
Autumn Driving Hazards – Earlier Sunsets
The days get shorter in the fall, so you’ll find yourself driving in the dark more often.
Dusk and dark are peak time for accidents. Make sure you’re staying alert during nighttime hours.
Be on the lookout for pedestrians and turn your headlights on during dawn or dusk hours.
Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and know when to swerve if there’s an object in the road.
Autumn Driving Hazards – School Children
If you drive just before the school day starts or after it ends, you’ll likely encounter busy crosswalks and bus stops.
Since more students are walking and biking to school, you’ll need to stay alert around schools and neighborhoods.
Be aware of bus safety and school drop-off procedures as well. You might also consider finding a new route to avoid these high-traffic areas.
It’s important to be prepared in any season. But even the most cautious drivers can find themselves face-to-face with something unexpected.
Thanks to Erie Insurance for these autumn driving safety tips, and with additional research by ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter.
About Erie Insurance
According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 11th largest homeowners insurer, 13th largest automobile insurer and 13th largest commercial lines insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written. Founded in 1925, Erie Insurance is a Fortune 500 company and the 19th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, ERIE has more than 6 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
This article was published originally in 2022 an has been updated for Autumn 2023
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter