While most Canadians are very careful while driving on the snowy, slushy, icy roads of winter, many forget that there are plenty of dangers associated with fall driving too. We see a surge in auto claims every year during the autumn months, and while many of them are outside of the driver’s control, there are more than a few that can be prevented with the right precautions. At Nicol Insurance, we never want you to have to make a vehicle claim, so our team has curated a list of the most helpful fall driving tips to protect you, your family and your property.
1) Be Ready for Slippery Roads
With fall comes many fresh hazards on the road, so it is important to pay attention to your surroundings at all times. You can expect plenty of water, mud, and early morning frost as well as the addition of fallen leaves that can all make conditions dangerous. Whether they are wet or dry, leaves can bunch up under your tires and cause you to slide. They can also disguise large puddles, patches of mud and potholes, making them harder to anticipate. Make sure to slow down while driving on patches of leaves, take corners carefully, and start to brake earlier when approaching other vehicles and intersections. You may think that you have enough time and space to stop, but if you end up skidding for even a few extra meters, it could mean an at-fault claim.
It is also important to note that many forms of wildlife are more active this time of year as they prepare for winter hibernation. You can expect more deer, moose, rabbits, raccoons, skunks and even bears to be out, so stay alert and be ready for a sudden obstacle on the road.
2) Reduced Visibility Ahead
The ever-changing fall weather creates many conditions that can reduce your visibility while driving, so be mindful of the weather. As temperatures cool, you can expect frost to start appearing on your windshield so make sure to completely clear your windshield of frost before driving to ensure a clear line of sight. Fluctuating temperatures also mean more misty mornings and fog, so be prepared to use your fog lights more often.
As the days continue to get shorter it means less daylight, which can increase the chances of not seeing pedestrians, cyclists and obstacles on the road ahead or beside you. You will also notice that glare from the sun and wet roads is more intense in the fall than the summer, so have a pair of sunglasses in your car to save you from squinting.
3) Winterize Your Vehicle
The simplest way to protect yourself on the roads this season is to make sure your vehicle is in good condition. Summer driving will take a toll on your vehicle, so it is always wise to make sure you are ready for the new season with a full tune-up. We recommend changing out your oil, lube and filters, a brake system inspection, fresh windshield wipers and a tire alignment, to be safe.
This is also the time to upgrade your tires for the winter. You may be worried that the roads are too warm for winter tires, so a good rule of thumb is to wait until the weather starts dropping below 7 degrees. Most winter tires are designed to be effective below the 7-degree mark, so watch your thermometer for your call to action.
Every season comes with its share of driving risks, but if you keep these car care and safety tips in mind, you are sure to have a worry-free season on the road. If you are ever unsure of the right precautions to take, just call your Nicol broker. Our team is always here to make sure your lifestyle is protected, and that includes passing along the right information to help you avoid the risks of the road. After all, there is no better defense than staying well-informed!