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5 Fall Driving Hazards Every Canadian Should Know

5 Fall Driving Hazards Every Canadian Should Know

Vigilance is one of the foremost requirements to be a good driver, and without your ever-keen senses, you won't be able to avoid trouble on the road. Of course, things become even more challenging in the fall when the visibility can fall drastically, and on-road conditions can become ultra-complicated sooner than you know. The seasonal changes in Canada, can be rather drastic, which means that unless drivers learn to adapt, the risk of accidents amplifies.

You can never be too careful while driving, but the fall is an especially tricky time of the year for drivers. Of course, distractions are the number one concern in this regard – but there are some extrinsic factors to look out for. Plus, in the case of an accident, if there be any, which you did not cause, you'll need conclusive evidence to prove that you were driving vigilantly. For instance, a dash cam can help you present video evidence to prove your innocence in the matter. However, the risk goes much beyond this.

Let's discuss 5 things that require special attention and what you should do to improve on-road safety for yourself, your passengers, and those with whom you share the road:

Hazard #5: Pretty Autumn Leaves

The fall's yellow, orange, and red leaves make a stunning display on the roadside, but these leaf-littered roads are not just an aesthetic thing – there is a grave danger at hand. Leaves can accumulate moisture on their surface over time, which can become troublesome for drivers - no matter how new your tires are.

Slipperiness is a significant road hazard, and its effects can become even more disastrous if you're driving at high speeds. If it has rained recently, be sure to drive within a safe speed limit to avoid accidents, especially on leaf-littered roads, plus, take extra care when turning on street corners.

Also, autumn leaves are a major fire hazard when dry, so avoid parking your vehicle among dried-up leaves.

Hazard #4: Rain, Rain...and then Ice

Weather changes rather drastically in the fall, and that's one serious concern for anyone driving on the road. Before you know it, a completely sunny day can become all wet and rainy in a matter of minutes, so be sure you take a look at the weather forecast before traveling a long distance.

It is best to plan your things according to the prevailing weather conditions and the likelihood of a downpour. Pavement gets slippery, especially the first few times it rains after a dry spell - rain can pool on the grime and oil on all roads and make the pavement slick. And if it is raining heavily, big puddles can cause hydroplaning - front wheels float, and you lose steering, leading to serious accidents.

When temperatures fall cold enough, the moisture on the road can turn into ice spots. If you thought you had to deal with ice only when it snows, think again – black ice can be a serious threat even in the fall.

What's even worse is that the leaves can cover up the frozen tracts following a heavy shower of rain. You can't tell if the leaves are icy, but you should presume that they are and proceed accordingly. Ice patches are common on bridges and overpasses, so be extremely cautious there.

If you do have to drive in the rain for some reason, just keep your vehicle running under a safe speed limit where you're confident that you'll be able to handle things if you need to halt abruptly. Leave plenty of following distance between you and cars ahead of you. Wet roads and high speeds are not a good pair!

Hazard #3: Chilly Mornings Bring Fog

Poor visibility on the road can be troubling. This is all the more concerning in the fall when children are out on the streets more often for Halloween and other festivities. In such times, you can't drive with compromised visibility.

Got fog lights? Use them in addition to low-beam headlights to see better through the thick curtain of fog. Don't use your high beams - as they will bounce the bright light off the fog and make visibility worse.

Hazard #2: Sun Glare

You might have already noticed that the sun is now sitting lower in the sky than in the summer. While we should be glad that the sun's out, it also creates a glare. But don't kid yourself, sun glare is strong in the fall - enough to blind you if you're driving directly into the sun's path. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car so you can use them when the sun starts to hit your eyes. Now's also an excellent time to make sure your windshield fluids are topped up and wipers are in good condition, as dirt on glass can worsen the glare.

Hazard #1: School Kids and Student Drivers

Fall is back-to-school time, which means more cars and kids will be on the road - and not to mention the new group of students who just got their driver's license.

So, stay wary and allow extra time if you'll be driving in school zones. Watch out for kids darting out unexpectedly, school buses with red flashers, and young, inexperienced drivers entering and leaving school parking lots.

Did you know that many school buses are now equipped with cameras to catch drivers who fail to stop when their "STOP" arms are extended and lights flashing? So yah, obey all speed limits and stop when you see school busses.

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Bottom Line

You can never be careful enough about these things. Many things that we feel are okay to do behind the wheel are not okay – talking, phone calls, texting, and eating while driving are prime examples. You need to be eternally vigilant year-round, but the fall is an especially challenging time. With a bit of care and a little understanding of the challenges of this season, you'll be better able to protect yourself and those who matter to you.

We hope that you stay safe on the road using the tips and recommendations we shared!

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