Autumn officially started this week and is already conjuring up images of so many wonderful family activities to do outside from apple picking, pumpkin patches, baking pies (or eating them) and foliage gazing. Have you planned your family’s fall outings yet? If not, check out Pumpkin Patches and more for a list of “Pick Your Own” farms, pumpkin patches, and other fall happenings in our area. Before you head out, we want to make sure you and your family are aware of typical fall road hazards and with these tips on how to stay safe.
Leaf Peepers – You’re on the road to look at leaves… And so are countless others! That means people will be stopping their cars intermittently, pulling over to the side of the road for those picturesque photo opportunities, and driving at slower-than-posted speeds to take in the autumn extravaganza. Many fall driving trips take you on rural roads that are far from towns and up and down tall winding hills and valleys. .Before you head out, be sure to take your car in for a basic inspection of its fluids, tire pressure, windshield wipers, brakes, engine, and other critical parts. Even with our complimentary nationwide emergency road service, no one wants to wait for a tow especially with kids in the car, and the family fun day comes to a halt.
Leaf Piles – dense piles of leaves can mask what lies underneath like potholes, and other road hazards so avoid heavily covered shoulders if possible. When parking your car, consider leaf piles a “No Park Zone”. Fire Officials have warned dry leaves are like dry paper and can ignite at about 400 degrees. Parts of a vehicle’s undercarriage, even if the vehicle has been driven only a short time, can heat up to about 600 degrees.
Rain – The first rain in a few weeks can be particularly dangerous driving, as water pools on top of dust, pollen, and oil that haven’t had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery. Wet leaves on the roadway can be as dangerous as ice and can cause your vehicle to slip. Drive a little slower even after the rain stops and make sure your wipers are up to par.
Fog – Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams which only makes visibility worse. When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the car in front of you, so you’ll have adequate time to stop if you need to.
Tire Pressure – Fall weather rapidly changes from warm to cold, and your tires will often expand and contract. For every 10 degrees drop in temperature, tire pressures drop roughly 1-2 psi, because of this you should always check your pressure in the morning before the tires heat up from driving. Consistently low pressure in your tires can cause your car to eat up more gas and cause tread separation. Be careful of over inflation too.
Deer – The fall season brings an increase in deer activity because it’s their time for mating and migrating. Watch for darting deer, especially at dawn and dusk since that’s their active time. If you see a deer cross the roadway, proceed very slowly as they often travel in groups.
Happy Autumn from all of us here at Osceola Garage! If anyone is feeling the itch to try out a new pie recipe with all those apples and pumpkins, feel free to stop by and bring us a piece. In the meantime, remember to stay on top of your routine car maintenance and our free roadside assistance has you covered, no matter where fall road trips take you.