There is a special time of year just between the sweltering summer months and winter’s cold that marks the beginning of holiday season and the last leg of the year. As Floridians, some of us may be a bit envious of the color-changing leaves and brisk air that usually does not hit much of our state until December. However, there are many people that travel far and wide to visit family and friends in parts of the country that do enjoy a more noticeable transition into the fall. Though some fly to their destination, countless others take to a time-honored American tradition and make it a road trip.
If you and your loved ones are hitting the road this fall, make sure you know a few driving safety tips for the fall season.
Fall Driving Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Your Road Trip
- Maintenance Check and Tune-Up: Before hitting the road, make sure that your vehicle is tip-top. Common precautions include an oil change, tire rotation and check, spare tire air pressure check, light bulb check, and brake check.
Many of these can be knocked out by simply scheduling a full tune-up at your dealership or local mechanic shop. Ensuring that these individual parts are in working order can ensure that your car not only makes it the distance you plan on traveling but also can do so safely. There is little worse than being mid-drive and having to make an emergency stop to get roadside assistance. Prepare today for an easier trip tomorrow.
- Watch for Leaves: Again, though we may not get much in the form of autumn leaves, many of our neighbors enjoy a more traditional fall in the form of falling foliage. Though beautiful to be sure, these leaves can pose big risks to motorists if especially dense on the road. Leaves are surprisingly slick when piled, so be cautious when driving over them, especially at higher speeds and in turns.
- Losing Light: Do not forget that it gets darker more quickly in the fall months. Especially if driving for multiple consecutive hours, consider switching drivers or finding a hotel to stay in overnight once darkness falls. Nighttime driving can be risky, especially on roadways you are unfamiliar with and at the higher speeds common on most highways.
- Seatbelts Are Mandatory: In a car accident, the sudden stop your body must make could be powerful enough to eject you or others from your vehicle. Though airbags save lives, they are far less effective if not paired with a seatbelt. If seatbelts make you uncomfortable, adjust yours until it fits you properly but never risk your life by driving without one fastened.
- Drinking and Driving is Unacceptable: Though fall is the start of the holiday season, it is not an excuse to have one too many alcoholic beverages before hitting the road. Police are in full force on the holidays, so understand that you are not just putting yourself and others at a much higher risk for an accident but are also risking your freedom. Drinking and driving, especially with minors, can lead to serious jail time and fines. Never drink and drive. No excuses.
Though some of these driving safety tips are specific to the fall, many of them can be applied to any road trip you make. By getting a tune up, watching for fallen leaves, remembering the shorter hours of sunlight, staying buckled up and never drinking and driving, you and your loved ones can hopefully make your autumn road trip a safe one.