As the seasons change, so do your driving habits. The carefree summer drives on smooth pavement on sunny days give way to chillier weather and increased road hazards before winter. Your car will perform differently too in colder weather, so it’s important to prepare it for the new season so it can maintain its optimal performance. What follows are three tips for driving safely in autumn.
Perform Your Own Safety Inspection
These items should be checked from time to time to begin with, but they’re also good to check on before the fall driving season begins to make sure your car is still in good shape after the long summer.
- Check tires for tread wear – as winter approaches, you’ll need more traction while driving, and if your tires are old or the tread has worn down, it may be time to replace them.
- Ensure the battery is operating at a proper voltage – it should be somewhere near 12.6V. This number will be higher, between 13.7 – 14.7 if the engine is running.
- Check your HVAC system for proper operation. Does your heat still work? It might smell a little dusty after not using it for a few months, but be sure it operates correctly.
With school back in session, many police officers are on the lookout for speeders. School buses and pedestrians are more prevalent, so it’s important to slow down. Any type of speeding ticket is likely going to raise your insurance premiums.
Also, your commute may end up being a few minutes longer than it was in the summer with so many buses around. Fewer people are on vacation now, which means there will be more people on the road. Before you leave for work, give yourself a few extra minutes of travel time (as much as 15 for some people’s commutes), and you’ll settle back into a routine in no time.
Be Mindful of Obstacles
Fallen leaves are characteristic of the autumn season, and when those leaves get wet, it creates an unsafe driving surface. It’s much harder to brake on a road that’s covered with wet leaves compared to a dry road. Also look for an increase in wildlife, especially deer. October and November are mating season months for deer, so they’ll be more active in wooded areas and may suddenly dart out into the road, putting your safety at risk.
When you keep these three tips in mind, you can enjoy a safe driving season in the chilly autumn weather.