Fall is a great season—it’s no longer too hot to enjoy time outside during the day and it means the beginning of the holiday season. Because fall isn’t winter, most people do not consider this to be a dangerous time of the year to drive, but the truth is that fall can actually be just as hazardous as winter, especially here in New England. If you want to drive safely during this season, here are ten fall driving hazards you should be aware of:
1. People going back to school. In the summer, roads are usually clearer than they are once kids start back to school. Not only are parents trying to get their children to the bus on time, they are also dropping their kids off at school and then trying to get to their own places of work without being late. Back to school traffic means there will be more pedestrians in both suburban and city areas, and there will be more people on the road. Being aware of this increased traffic can help you plan your route to avoid it.
2. Leaves falling on the road. What’s dangerous about leaves on the road? Anyone who has ever stepped on a patch of wet leaves knows that wet leaves are slippery. Fall means a large accumulation of leaves on the road increased rains means that the leaves are more likely to be slippery. This can mean that your car can slide through these piles of leaves when you are trying to brake. Wet leaves on the road can be almost as dangerous as ice on the road, so be careful and look for accumulations of leaves while driving.
3. Early morning fog. Fall usually brings with it cooler temperatures, and that means fog in the morning. While fog will generally start to burn off once the sun comes up, if you have an early start in the morning or the sun never came out from behind the clouds to burn the fog away, you might be facing a foggy drive to work. Luckily, every Kia vehicle as the appropriate lights to help you see through and be seen in the fog.
4. Frost. As temperatures start to drop, frost will start to collect on the windshields of cars. Your Kia will have an excellent defroster to get your windows clear, but making sure you can actually get your windows clear before you need to leave for work will take some planning. Stepping outside to turn on your car five to ten minutes before you actually need to leave is a great way to make sure that you windows will be clear of frost by the time you are on the road, without any need to scrape the windows.
5. Ice on the road. Ice is usually believed to be just a winter hazard, but the truth is that if it is cold enough to ice up your windows, it is cold enough to ice up the roads. Any area of the road that is often shady, along with bridges, is more likely to accumulate ice during a cold night and is less likely to have that ice burn off by the time you need to be on the road. By aware of shady and cold spots on the road so you do not run the risk of sliding or spinning out.
6. The sun. In the fall, the sun starts to set earlier and earlier in the evening. Once Daylight Savings Time ends (on November 1st in 2015), the sun will set even earlier, usually just as most people are heading home from work. That means that you are likely to encounter serious sun glare either driving to or home from work or errands. Sun glare can make it difficult to see stoplights, road hazards, and even other drivers, especially if their lights are not on. Keeping your windshields clean can make the road much easier to see and wearing sunglasses can prevent the sun from momentarily blinding you.
7. Deer. In most parts of the country, deer are migrating during the fall. This means that more deer are going to be trying to cross roads and there is a highly likelihood of hitting one. Hitting a dear isn’t just dangerous for that deer, it is dangerous for you and your vehicle. Being alert, especially when driving through parts of your town or city where deer are likely to be, is very important.
8. Fewer daylight hours. During the summer, you might be able to wake up, get read, go to work, go home, have dinner, and run errands all during the daylight. The shorter daylight hours in fall means that you are more likely to be driving on dark roads, even just to and from work or school. Being aware of the darkness, driving with your lights on, and watching for pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles is especially important during the fall.
9. Foggy windshields. During fall days, your windshields are more likely to fog up, as temperatures change throughout the day. Making sure that you have your defroster on and that you even have a rag to wipe your windshields clear will prevent the reduced visibility that comes along with these lower temperatures.
10. Igniting leaf piles. A dry pile of leaves under your car can actually be ignited after you park your car. Avoid driving through or parking on top of dry leaf piles. Clear them out of your gutters and yards as frequently as possible in order to avoid this fall driving hazard.