Road Safety Tips For Your Family to Follow This Fall

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Although the pandemic has kept many of us home for the last six months or so, it’s likely you’re using your vehicle more as we head into autumn. For many, school is back in session and businesses have reopened their doors — and, of course, there’s the beautiful fall foliage to take in if you decide to get outside, go camping, or even just take a drive. If your family is spending more time in the car this season, you may want to refresh yourself on the tips that can keep your loved ones safe. By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can stay safe when you’re out on the open road this fall.

Avoid Fallen Leaves

Leaves are beautiful to look at, but they can be problematic on many streets and roads. Wet leaves can make conditions incredibly slippery, which can make your car more likely to skid. Leaves can also camouflage certain road hazards like potholes, while piles of raked leaves can be attractive to both children and pets. You should slow down when you see leaves on or near the road and proceed with caution. Whatever you do, don’t drive through piles of leaves; slowly go around them instead to ensure you don’t hit anything that could be hiding inside.

Use Caution During Bad Weather

Autumnal weather can be crisp and clear, but rainstorms and foggy conditions are also common during this season. Out of the more than 5,891,000 motor vehicle accidents that occur in an average year, around 1,235,145 can be attributed to hazardous weather. As a result, you should be extremely careful when driving during periods of bad weather in the fall.

If it’s raining, be sure to keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you. Drive below the speed limit and be aware that rain can easily turn frosty if the temperature drops. You should avoid the need to brake suddenly if at all possible. Should you start to hydroplane, keep steering straight and gently take your foot off the gas pedal until you feel the road under your tires. You should also take the time to replace your windshield wipers if necessary. Recent research shows that 77% of cars on the road are in need of maintenance or repairs, so don’t wait until you’re driving through a bad storm to realize that you can’t see through your windshield.

Fog is another common problem for drivers during this time of year. Foggy conditions can decrease your visibility. If this happens to you, slow down and use your fog lights (if you have them) to support your regular headlights. For those who don’t have foglights, it’s best to use low beams. Although 58% of Americans prefer LED lighting over other options, you shouldn’t use your high beams on foggy days or nights, as they’ll actually worsen your ability to see.

Slow Down For Deer

There is a time for high beams, however. They should be used when you’re traveling on dimly-lit roads, particularly in rural areas. Not only will this ensure other drivers see you and that you can see the road, but you’ll also be able to spot wild animals more readily.

Deer can commonly be found during this time of year, even in areas that aren’t particularly rural. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, you’re 3.5 times as likely to hit an animal (deer, in particular) in November as you are during any other time of year; that’s because deer mate during this season, so they’ll be out and about. Keep in mind that adult deer can weigh more than 300 pounds, which can be extremely damaging to your vehicle and dangerous to anyone in the car. Be sure to use your high beams when traveling in areas more likely to be populated with deer and maintain slower speeds when you aren’t on the highway. Dusk and dawn are the most likely times you might see these creatures, so proceed with extra caution if you’re driving during these hours.

Whenever you’re in the car with your loved ones this fall, you’ll want to maintain a safe distance from other cars, travel at slower speeds, and keep distractions to a minimum. Give yourself enough time to reach your destination without having to rush. That way, bad weather and other road hazards won’t be able to thwart your plans or threaten your safety.

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