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Fall Safe Driving Tips

Category: Personal Insurance

Fall can offer a variety of challenges for drivers, from wet leaves, fog and sun glare to frost and even ice. Autumn also brings changes in traffic and pedestrian patterns with kids back to school and fewer hours of daylight. And don’t forget about the increased risk of colliding with deer in the fall!

Time to brush up on your defensive driving techniques, and make sure you are on the lookout for all the hazards the changing season brings. Here are a few tips for safe driving this fall:

  • Wet leaves can be very slippery and can obscure road markings and traffic lines. Slow down and use extra caution if the road is covered with leaves.
  • Use low beam headlights when driving in fog.
  • Sun glare can make driving difficult in the morning and evening. Keep sunglasses in your vehicle and use your vehicle’s sun visor to minimize the blinding effects of the sun. Also, keep your windshield clean to minimize sun glare.
  • Pay particular attention to frost and ice on the roads in the morning, after the overnight temperature has dropped. Be extra careful for frost and ice on bridges, overpasses, and shady areas.
  • Increase your following distance when wet leaves, fog, frost or ice are present.
  • Make sure your headlights and taillights are working properly before the shorter days of fall set in.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are clean and working properly, and fill up your wiper fluid tank.
  • Check your tires to be sure they have the appropriate tread depth for wet and slippery roadways.
  • Watch for children playing or burrowing in piles of leaves on the roadside. Never drive through a leaf pile!
  • Wipe fallen leaves off of your windshield before heading out on the road. They can get stuck to the windshield and seriously inhibit your ability to see.
  • Be mindful of children waiting at bus stops in the morning and in the afternoon hours.

Deer activity also increases during the autumn months. Drivers need to be especially careful in the morning and at dusk to avoid colliding with deer as they dart across the road. Here are some other tips for avoiding deer-car collisions:

  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs; slow down and be alert in marked deer crossing areas.
  • If you see one deer, there are likely others nearby. Deer tend to travel in packs.
  • Use your high beam lights at night if you are driving in a rural area with no oncoming traffic.
  • If you see a deer in the roadway, honk your horn to frighten it away.
  • Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer; you could veer into oncoming traffic and cause an even worse situation.
  • If you hit a deer, do not go near the injured animal. It could be alive, frightened and dangerous.
  • If you are involved in a deer-car collision, call 9-1-1 for help.

Remember that deer-car collisions are covered under the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy. You might also have coverage for towing if your vehicle must be towed away from the accident site. If you do not have comprehensive coverage or roadside assistance coverage, you will be responsible for the cost of repairing the damages and for the cost of the tow truck.

If you swerve to avoid a deer and hit something else, such as a mailbox, a ditch or another car, you will be covered by the collision portion of your auto insurance. Remember, both your comprehensive and collision coverage are subject to a deductible.

Hitting a deer or any other kind of traffic incident can be very stressful. We are here to help! If you hit a deer or something else this fall, be sure to call us right away. We can help you through the claims process and make sure that everything is handled in a timely and satisfactory manner.

What types of precautions do you take while driving in the fall? Have you ever had a weather-related car accident? Tell us your story.

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