Driving in Fall---Two Sides to Being Prepared for the Driving Conditions.by Ali's Woodinville on 10/03/13
Fall, or autumn if you prefer, is here.....and it brings about changes for the drivers of the Northwest. We looked and found a few lists of tips for Fall driving preparedness, and although they were very complete (see them here: http://www.davesultimateautomotive.com/blog/autumn-auto-maintenance-checklist/ and here: http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Fall_Driving_Safety_Tips ), there is a general trend to be seen. Specifically, all of the tips can be categorized into TWO MAIN categories.
Diving safely in Fall conditions (weather, leaves, darkness, school starting again, etc.) has to do with BOTH an ability of the driver to be more aware and take extra measures to be careful on the road, and also preparedness for your vehicle, so that it can handle the rigors of Autumn road travel.
1) Preparing YOURSELF for Fall Driving.
The Dangers of Fallen Leaves on Roads can be more of a hazard than you realize. Lovetoknow safety writes, "When leaves accumulate on the roadway and become wet, they can get extremely slippery, making the driving conditions similar to driving on ice. If the temperature drops below freezing, the wet leaves will freeze and turn into dangerous icy leaves on the roadway. Besides reducing the car's traction, causing skidding and the possibility of losing control of the vehicle, leaves often cover the painted road markings, making it difficult to know the locations of the lanes."
You also have to adjust for weather conditions, and not just the rain and wet roadways, but also the fog. Icy roads can creep in at night on overpasses and bridges if the temperature sneaks low enough.
Also, you must adjust for the fewer hours of daylight, and the fact that people may still be out and about when it's dark. Here's a list of tips that takes all of these into account (and it's a bit more simplified than the lists we referenced).
- Slow down on turns, and make sure you have plenty of "following distance" between you and other cars.
- Piles of leaves can conceal children walking or playing around them-- be aware of children.
- Keep your windshield leaf-free.
- Set headlights to low-beam in fog.
- Watch your speed on overpasses and bridges in case of ice
- Watch out for children at bus stops and road crossings--it's already getting dark when small children are leaving school.
- Take special care and drive much more slowly/carefully on Halloween....the costumes make it even more difficult to see children.
2) Preparing YOUR CAR for Fall/Autumn driving.
The normal tips are listed below, but along with these you need to make sure that you actually bring your car in to a professional. First, you car may already be due for it's regular servicing. If you're not sure when to do it, it's usually every 30,000 miles (30K, 60K, 90K, etc.), but if you don't know, it's better just to get it done and worry about the schedule after that. OR, you could at least come get your next oil change with us. We will make sure all of the tips and checks below are accomplished FOR YOU!
Your car has to deal with more temperature change in the coming months, and you don't want a lingering issue to be exacerbated by the cold and wet. Even if it's your tires that need to be changed, our Woodinville auto repair shop will be able to direct you where to go and what to do.
Tips for your car's fall weather maintenance:
- Get caught up on servicing (30K, 60K, 90K)
- Oil changed earlier rather than later
- Brake Repairs and pad changes earlier rather than later
- Check that your antifreeze is full
- Visually inspect your tires, and check pressure.
- Replace worn windshield wipers.
- Check your windshield washer fluid and top off
- Bring your vehicle to Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair to get all of these accomplished at once, and let us handle it for you!