Fall Driving Tips

Fall Driving Tips

Fall is a beautiful season here in New England and watching the weather transition from fall to winter can be fascinating. It’s also the time of year when drivers need to be extra cautious on the roads and prepare for the colder months ahead. We recommend reviewing the driving safety tips below… these can apply to both personal and commercial vehicles.

Be Aware of Weather Conditions

In many areas, autumn is a damp, wet season. There are many rainy or foggy days and nights. As the temperatures drop, frost often coats the ground at night.

  • When driving in fog, set your headlights to low beam. This setting aims the beam of light down toward the roadway.
  • As temperatures drop, frost often forms on the roadway, causing hazardous driving conditions. Drive slowly and break gently at overpasses and bridges as these areas frost over more quickly than other roadway surfaces.
  • Fall foliage is certainly beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring traffic lines and other pavement markings.
  • Be aware of areas where black ice forms on the roadway.

Adjust for Fewer Hours of Daylight

In the fall there are fewer hours of daylight, however, it is still common to see children outside playing, people walking their dogs, jogging or taking late afternoon or evening walks. In the fading light of dusk, it is more difficult to see these children and pedestrians.

  • Watch out for children at their bus stops in the morning and as they return home in the afternoon, especially at crosswalks.
  • Halloween is a fun fall holiday. Take special care where children are out trick or treating. They may be wearing masks or costumes that limit their visibility.
  • Always drive defensively.
  • Stay alert for animals, like deer and moose that commonly cross the roadways around dusk.

Don’t forget Vehicle Maintenance

It is important to keep up with your vehicle maintenance, especially during the colder months, which can wreak havoc on your car especially if it’s parked outside.

  • Make sure your headlights cleaned and in proper working order, double-check they are aligned.
  • Replace your windshield wiper blades if they show any signs of wear.
  • Replace your battery if needed
  • If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, make an appointment to have your winter tires put on.
  • For commercial drivers: remember to always perform a pre-use safety check on your vehicle.
  • Keep an emergency car/truck safety kit, which should include the following:
      • Fully charged cell phone w/ car charger adapter
      • Emergency contact information (work, family, friends, doctors, AAA)
      • Ice scraper and snow brush
      • Jumper cables
      • Road maps
      • Blanket (wool or fleece)
      • Warning light or road flares
      • Non-Battery flashlight (crank, shake, LED versions)
      • First aid kit
      • High-energy food (non-perishable items such as chocolate bars, canned nuts, dried fruit)
      • Bottled water
      • Properly inflated spare tire
      • Wheel wrench and jack
      • Extra clothing, gloves, and footwear
      • Tire chains – if needed
      • Reflective vest