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Yesterday marked the first day of fall, arguably the most beautiful season of the year. Who doesn’t enjoy the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves or the cool crisp air—a nice break from the hot sweltering summer heat? With the changing leaves comes changing driving conditions. What can you do to be prepared for the new season?
- Adjust driving in shorter daylight. Fall brings shorter days, and thus fewer hours of daylight. Since we don’t set our clocks back until November, be prepared to adjust driving in the dark as early as late afternoon. If night driving is a problem, adjust your driving times or find an alternate well-lit route. Be especially aware of pedestrians, cyclists, and school children who may be active during the late afternoon hours.
- Watch out for wet leaves. Leaves that fall on the roads and become wet from rain are a serious driving hazard, as they are extremely slippery and reduce tire traction. They also can make it difficult to see the yellow and white markings for lanes, as well as any potholes or bumps. Slow down if you are driving on a road covered with leaves, especially when driving around turns.
- Plan for changing weather conditions. As nighttime temperatures drop in the fall, this brings frost to windshields and roads. Keep a windshield scraper in your car. Be aware of slippery conditions on the roads that occur with frost. Drive cautiously when approaching overpasses and bridges, since frost forms more quickly on open roadway surfaces.
- Bring in your car for a fall check-up. Keeping your car in good condition decreases your chances of being stranded in cold weather, and also extends the life of your car. Have your mechanic check your battery, fluids, ignition, lights, brakes, heater, and exhaust system to gear up for the colder weather that lies ahead. Additionally, have your mechanic replace your windshield wiper blades if they are showing signs of wear and tear. It is always good to plan ahead and have your car ‘winterized’ before the winter season fully sets in.