In the next few months, the heat of Georgia’s summer will (thankfully) begin to move out. If you’re like us, you are probably looking forward to the arrival of autumn. You might even decide to take a few day trips to the mountains. Still, driving in autumn comes with its own safety risks. You might need to look out for a few of these if you want to avoid wrecks, not to mention an expensive claim on your car insurance policy.
Keep in mind a few of the vehicle safety risks that might occur during the winter, and know how to respond to them if necessary.
1. Cold Fronts
As the seasons begin to change, the weather might change quickly. One day, it might feel like summer, while the next, the first freeze of the year might beckon. Cars are durable, but when the temperature changes, you need to pay attention to damage risks that might occur. For example:
- If your car lacks the appropriate antifreeze or oil levels, the sudden cold might cause damage to the engine or other internal systems.
- Old or poorly maintained batteries often have to work harder to crank in cold temperatures. That’s why sudden cold might cause the battery to fail, or impose undue strain on the system.
- Cold frequently changes air pressure, which can also change the pressure within your tires. If your tire pressure suddenly drops, then your car won’t perform optimally in cold conditions. You might even run the risk of a tire collapse or flats.
That’s why you should make sure your car has received its most-recent recommended maintenance. If the car is due for an oil change or tire rotation, try to take it into the mechanic’s garage during the early fall, while the weather is most likely to remain mild.
2. Wet or Dirty Roadways
Weather changes might also create safety risks on local roadways. These might include:
- Roadways could become slick from frequent rains, and as fall approaches winter, ice risks could begin to threaten as well
- As leaves begin to fall in autumn, they can make roadways slick, especially if they mix with rain
- If a wet fall occurs, flash flooding may fill roadways. Or, they might cause bridges to wash out, or form sink holes that could cause the roadway to become unstable
In these and many other cases, drivers have to slow down and pay extra attention to the road in front of them. Furthermore, if your tires aren’t working well, you might already have diminished braking power, which becomes even more essential in these cases.
3. Visibility and Speed Risks
Weather conditions might change suddenly during autumn. Sudden storms, rain and fog might occur suddenly, and at different times during the day. Each of these conditions might cause visibility risks to any driver. Furthermore, as the days get shorter, you must realize that you will drive in darkness more frequently. Therefore, they autumn is a time when you will have to make liberal use of your lights and windshield wipers. You are wise to slow down and leave space between yourself and other vehicles.
Don’t forget, pedestrians will still be around during these times. In particular, students will have returned to school, and you might have to pay closer attention to school bus laws and speed limits in school zones during this time of year.
4. Animal Risks
Certain animal activity tends to increase during autumn, as species prepare for the winter’s hibernation or practice certain hunting skills. For example, though deer can appear in roadways during all times of year, the fall causes changes in the species. Fall is mating season, and a deer’s hunting patterns might also occur during this period. That’s why you may see more deer activity in all areas, including in roadways, this time of year.
So as fall arrives, make sure you prepare your vehicle for the coming season, and don’t forget to adjust your driving risks for additional assistance.