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Smart Driving Tips for Safe Driving in Fall Weather

As the leaves change and the weather shifts, it's essential to adapt your driving habits to stay safe on the road. Whether you are new to the wheel or a seasoned driver, fall can offer surprising challenges. It's important to know potential hazards if you want to be prepared.

Here are some smart driving tips for navigating fall weather conditions.

Personal perspective of man driving among a lush forest in autumn.

Changing Weather Concerns

The shifting weather of each season brings a different challenge. During the fall, you will want to be prepared for changing weather that often includes unpredictable temps and autumn storms.

Adjust to Reduced Daylight
As fall progresses, daylight hours are shorter. Be prepared for reduced visibility during morning and evening commutes. Turn on your headlights early to increase your visibility for other drivers.

Monitor Weather Reports
Check for changing weather conditions if you're planning a longer trip. Keep tabs on the forecast and road conditions before heading out so you can alter your plans if necessary.

Potential Autumn Road Hazards

With the weather changing, conditions on the road might not be ideal for normal driving habits. Increase your following distance to give yourself more time to react to sudden stops in case the roads are slippery with rain or ice.

Watch Out for Fallen Leaves
While beautiful, fallen leaves can create hazardous road conditions. Wet leaves are slippery, similar to driving on ice. Exercise caution when driving over areas of the leaves sitting on the road, especially on turns or curves.

Keep an Eye on Wildlife
Many animals are mating and migrating in the fall. This behavior often leads to increased wildlife activity near roadways. Be vigilant, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are more active and visibility isn't optimal. If you spot an animal near the road, slow down and be prepared for sudden movements.

Prepare for Frost and Ice
As temperatures drop, frost and ice become more common in the mornings. Allow extra time to defrost your windows, and be cautious of icy patches on the road, especially on bridges and overpasses. Consider switching to winter tires if you live in an area with severe winter weather.

Look Out for Road Construction
Most road crews are trying to get what they can out of any mild weather left in the year. Watch out for road construction crews and reduced speeds. You might find that roads are suddenly coned off, reducing the lanes and forcing an unexpected merge. Always slow down when you see construction cones or signs.

Winter Vehicle Prep

Is your car ready for the fall and winter season? Here are the ways you should prep your vehicle for the cooler weather.

Fall Maintenance
Ensure your headlights and brake lights are working correctly. Make sure your windshield wipers are in good working order and fill up with freeze-resistant windshield wiper fluid.

Keep Your Emergency Kit Updated
Fall temps can drop quickly and emergencies can happen without warning. Ensure your vehicle's emergency kit includes essentials like:

  • Snacks and water
  • A first-aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Warm work gloves
  • A flashlight

Inspect Your Tires
Proper tire maintenance is crucial for fall driving. Your tires should have a visible tread depth and not look worn (or bald). You should immediately replace tires if they show signs of uneven wear or visible wires. Keep your tires properly inflated and regularly rotated. Bad tires can be especially dangerous on wet or slippery roads. Make sure you have a spare tire on hand and the tools you need to change a surprise flat on the road.

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