Autumn driving dangers
Leaves, fog, changing weather challenge drivers

Each season presents a new set of challenges for drivers, and autumn is no exception.

Thanks to changing weather patterns, diminishing daylight, and other factors, driving safely during the fall requires specific knowledge and awareness. Russ Darrow Group offers the following tips for drivers to stay safe on the road this season.

Watch out for leaves

The colorful leaves of autumn can become hazardous once they fall onto the road. Avoid driving through piles of leaves, which could be hiding something capable of puncturing a tire. Also, be cautious of leaves when it rains, since wet leaves on pavement can be slippery. Piles of dry leaves in parking lots present another hazard, as an improperly functioning catalytic converter could spark and start a fire.

Stay alert

As the fall season wears on, dusk occurs increasingly early in the evening. For several weeks, this will mean a low setting sun during the evening rush hour, so make sure you have sunglasses to help maintain visibility. Additionally, you likely will not be used to driving home from work when it is dark out. Adjust to the lack of daylight by driving slower and keeping yourself more aware of your surroundings behind the wheel.

Check tire pressure often

Air pressure in tires is tremendously important, both for gas mileage and driving safety. One of the biggest influences on tire pressure is temperature, as fluctuations in temperature can make a significant impact. According to TireRack.com,for every 10 percent the temperature changes, tire pressure changes about 2 percent. The temperature differences between daytime and night can be large during the fall, so make sure to check the vehicle’s tire pressure weekly.

Be prepared for weather

Autumn weather can be unpredictable, especially in Wisconsin. We’re likely to face rain, freezing rain, and even snow at some point this season. Make sure the heater and defroster in your vehicle are in tip-top shape. It’s also a good idea to check the condition of your vehicle’s windshield wipers. They may be performing fine in rainy conditions, but freezing rain and snow present a different set of challenges to wipers.

Watch for deer

Watching for deer is a must for safe driving year-round, especially on rural roads. This is even more important during the autumn months. Hitting a deer can severely damage your vehicle or even cause personal injury, so keep your eyes peeled for deer running across the road. Deer are most active around dawn and dusk, so use added caution when driving during these times.

Back to school traffic

The areas around schools tend to be much busier during the fall, thanks to the return of the school year and sports seasons. There typically are posted speed limits near schools, but make sure to let your foot off the gas when driving in these areas. Also, be mindful of the increase in pedestrian traffic near schools and neighborhood bus stops.

Beware of fog

Fog is a common occurrence during autumn evening and early morning hours, thanks to the difference in temperature between the ground and the air above it. Slow down when driving in fog, and make sure to use just your low beam headlights. High beams actually reduce your visibility, since the light simply reflects off the fog rather than cutting through it.

Russ Darrow Group, headquartered in Menomonee Falls, is Wisconsin’s all-time volume auto retailer since 1965. It owns and operates dealerships in Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Greenfield, Madison, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, and West Bend, representing Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Toyota, Scion, Honda, Nissan, Kia, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. With more than 700 employees, the company also operates a nationwide fleet and leasing business and has its own in-house financing company. For more information on Russ Darrow Group’s complete offerings of automotive sales, selection, and service, visit www.russdarrow.com.