Driving can be hazardous at the best of times. It requires a good deal of attention, situational awareness, and comfort behind the wheel – not to mention respect for good driving fundamentals, such as not heading out on the road if you’re feeling exhausted.
If you live in a state, country, or territory where the fall season is notably wetter, gloomier, and foggier than the summer season, it becomes especially important to understand the best tips and practices for safe fall driving.
Of course, things like fall driving tips in PA should always be paired with appropriate auto insurance, so that you’re adequately covered. Whether you live in Northeast Philadelphia, Yardley, or any other greater Philadelphia suburb, you need to find the best auto insurance for the particular area that you are living in.
Here are just a handful of good fall driving safety tips to keep in mind.
Keep Your Windshield Clear for the Best Visibility
Generally speaking, when people think about fall driving and potential hazards that are involved, most of their attention will go to things like rain, flooding, and disrupted road surfaces.
While all those things are certainly major concerns that have to be accounted for, it’s also important to remember just how powerful of an impact the changing light conditions can have on your ability to drive safely.
Since sunset happens significantly earlier in some regions during the fall, this means that there is a greater likelihood that you will be caught on the road during the sunset (or sunrise, for that matter!) a lot more often than you were earlier in the year.
Clearly, this can significantly influence visibility, and can temporarily blind you; disrupting your ability to properly assess obstacles on the road.
In order to protect yourself against this potential issue, take extra care to keep your windshield clean so that smudges on its surface don’t combine with the sunset to drastically reduce your visibility in the middle of an afternoon drive. It is also vitally important to keep your windshield free of damage, like cracks and rock chips. These can keep you from seeing the roadway clearly and hamper your ability to see dangerous situations.
And of course, always keep a pair of sunglasses handy in your car!
Allow Enough Space Between You And Other Cars
One reason why you need a good insurance agent in PA is because accidents are significantly more likely and common during periods of the year that are more prone to rain and slippery road surfaces.
Even if you have good car insurance, you’ll want to proactively change your driving style to allow more space between you and other cars when the roads are wet, and especially during times of ongoing rainfall.
This, by no means, is all you have to be concerned about with regards to the roads becoming more slippery in the fall, however. Although it may not get spoken about as frequently as some other factors, leaf-cover on the roads – which is the kind of thing that you are likely to have to contend with from time to time during fall driving – can go a very long way towards making road surfaces even more slippery, and creating an even greater risk of you losing control of the vehicle. Not to mention, leaves can cover the driving safety lines on roadways, causing you or others to lose their bearings on the road and drift outside of their respective lanes.
Try to leave a minimum of a 3 car distance, between you and the nearest vehicle to you, when driving in these sorts of wet and slippery conditions. Also, realize that braking too suddenly in wet conditions may increase the risk of you losing control of your car.
Make Sure You Can See Before You Start Driving
Since the night lasts longer and begins earlier in fall – particularly if you are in certain areas like Yardley, for example – one issue that you should be particularly mindful of is the fact that it can take your eyes some time to adjust to the dark before driving; whether first thing in the morning or at the end of the workday.
Many people, unfortunately, tend to jump into their cars and drive off in these reduced light conditions, after having just come out of brightly illuminated houses or offices, without giving their eyes enough time to adjust so that they can more clearly make out potential hazards and obstacles in the dark.
In addition to this, many people also begin to drive off on chilly days with their windows still a bit frosted over – perhaps because they hadn’t calculated the time needed to thaw their windows when figuring out how long the morning commute would take.
It’s important to remember, though, that there are few things that are as likely to be as potentially risky as driving with fogged up or frosted over windows, where you can barely make out what you see – especially when you combine this with darkness, and already unfavorable driving conditions.
Be Extra Vigilant For People And Animals In Conditions Of Reduced Visibility
If you’re driving in the half-light of dawn or dusk, and especially if the weather is a bit overcast or foggy, people and animals can easily seem to blend into the backdrop of the scenery.
Don’t let all your attention be fixated on the other vehicles on the road. Make a point to also be extra vigilant for people and animals on the side or shoulders of the road, and on the road itself.
Use Your Fog Lights And Your Sense Of Hearing For Safer Driving In Foggy Conditions
Fog is something that regularly happens in the fall in certain locations – and it can often be dense enough to massively limit your visibility, and to make you unaware of other vehicles that are essentially directly in front of you.
In order to drive safely in very foggy conditions, be sure that you turn your fog lights on, and consider turning off the radio or anything you might be listening to in the car. Rolling down the windows a bit and using your own sense of hearing can help you more effectively detect and react to other vehicles.
Especially at intersections, taking the time to actually listen before you go ahead – particularly if visibility is limited – can be very worthwhile indeed.
As an independent insurance agency in PA, we know all about safe driving in the fall and any time of year! Remember, safe driving skills will help protect you, but you still need to have good car insurance, as well. If you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, give our team a call today at 215-673-0300.