Fall tends to feel like a mild driving season; summer construction is starting to wrap up and the depths of winter are still at bay. But as the saying goes, safety never takes a holiday. Drivers must always be vigilant; even when—perhaps especially when—they feel like they can relax a little.
What makes fall driving dangerous is its unpredictability. Weather can change from day to day, and from morning to evening, so drivers actually have to be more prepared for varying conditions.
September storms often come fast and furious, and when combined with summer’s accumulation of oil buildup, roads can get slick. In addition to slowing down in the rain, remind your drivers to avoid hard braking, especially when approaching an intersection. Braking sooner and more smoothly than usual will go a long way toward avoiding accidents.
Morning frost leaves patches on the road, making traction irregular. Mix frost with a sharp corner and it makes for a tricky driving situation. Encourage your drivers to be cautious around tree-lined roads, over bridges and places where shadows are cast over the street. As always, they should drive the speed limit, slow down before blind curves and look ahead for shaded areas with limited visibility.
Depending on the area, black ice will form when moisture freezes on the road. To make matters more dangerous, black ice often goes unseen, which means the driver must react correctly in the moment. If the asphalt looks shiny and black rather than grey or white, caution drivers to reduce their speed and avoid using cruise control.
Fog makes for a nice view from an office window, but not from a vehicle. In low-lying areas, fog limits visibility and distance perception. It’s common to hear about rear-ending collisions in foggy conditions, because drivers don’t always adjust their speed to account for reduced visibility. Your drivers are wise to slow down, use extra caution and not overdrive their headlights.
Though seemingly harmless, fallen leaves can actually pose an element of danger for drivers. When wet, leaves become slippery. When dry, they can start a fire from a vehicle’s catalytic converter (which is a good reason to avoid parking near leaf piles). Leaves can also cover road paint, pot holes, debris and important signs.
No matter the season, safety starts with the right mindset. This fall, encourage your fleet drivers to stay alert and to plan ahead for changing road conditions.