Fall Back: Adjusting Your Driving to the Changing Season

Increased pedestrian traffic, shorter days are just two of the challenges

Fall is a season when people can enjoy the changing leaves and temperate weather. It's also a time that presents a number of challenges on the road. Here are five tips to help prepare for autumn driving.

Back to school: There is more foot traffic with children walking to bus stops, getting on/off buses, and parents transporting their kids. Drive slower in residential areas and when approaching pedestrian walks, stay alert, and be prepared for sudden stops.

Here comes the sun: The first hour after sunrise/before sunset is when sun glare is the harshest. While a sun visor may block out most of the sun, keep a good pair of polarized sunglasses handy and allow extra distance between you and the car ahead of you.

Wet leaves: Driving on wet leaves can be as dangerous as driving on black ice. Allow more time/distance to brake, be especially careful on winding roads, and take turns slowly.

Catching up on sleep: Daylight Savings ends Nov. 5, which is also the start of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. It's important to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. The risk of a car crash nearly doubles with just one or two hours less sleep.

Active deer: Fall is deer mating season. They are most active at dusk and dawn and more likely to dart unexpectedly onto the road. If you see one deer, there are likely more, so slow down and you'll be able to react and stop in time.

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  1. “Fall Driving,” https://www.penndot.pa.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/TrafficSafetyAndDriverTopics/Pages/Fall-Driving.aspx.

  2. James R. Healy, “9 Fall Driving Dangers and Tips To Stay Safe,” https://www.aarp.org/auto/info-2016/fall-driving-safety-tips.html, (November 13, 2019).

  3. Christina Ianzito, “Don't Lose Sleep Over Time Changes,” https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/daylight-savings-time-fd.html, (November 1, 2017).

  4. Ashley Welch, “Missing Just a Couple of Hours of Sleep Doubles Car Crash Risk,” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sleep-deprivation-doubles-car-crash-risk-aaa, (December 6, 2016).

Our Safety Center pages are filled with tips related to the safety and maintenance of your home and autos. The information contained in these articles should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.