Yellow & Orange Alert: Fall Driving Tips

This article originally appeared in the Castrol Blog

Autumn is arguably one of the most beautiful times of year. But along with the changing leaves comes changing driving conditions. What should you do to prepare for the new season?

The fall foliage is beautiful, as long as it stays on the trees. But once those leaves start falling, get wet from rain they can become a serious driving hazard. Wet leaves are slippery and reduce traction. They can also cover parts of the yellow and white pavement markings on the road, making it difficult to determine shoulder and lane widths. Additionally, wet leaves can get clogged under your wiper blades, impeding wiper performance and visibility. Always keep your windshield clean of leaves, and watch for wet leaves on the roads especially as you are making turns. Also, park free of leaf piles as these can be a fire hazard against catalyst converters.

We lose a minute of daylight every day until the clocks are set back in October. And shorter days mean shorter light, making it more difficult to see pedestrians, cyclists, and children playing in the late afternoon. Be on the lookout. If night vision is a problem, adjust your driving times or find alternate, well–lit routes whenever possible. On the flip side, later sunrises mean drivers need to adjust to the brighter sun at different times of the morning. Always keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to shield your vision. Pull over completely if the sun’s glare affects your ability to safely see ahead.

Dipping nighttime temperatures bring frost to windshields and roads. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom in your car. Decelerate or gently brake when approaching bridges and overpasses: open surfaces are more prone to collect frost on the roadway surface. Keep alert for shaded areas that could create black ice during early morning and evening hours.

Have your car winterized before the winter storm season sets in. Keeping your car in good condition decreases your chance of being stranded in cold weather. (And as you high-mileage enthusiasts already know, it also increases the life of your vehicle.) Have your mechanic check your battery, fluids, ignition system, thermostat, lights, exhaust system, heater, and brakes. Ask him to replace your oil with a couple of fresh quarts of Castrol GTX High Mileage. In your trunk, be sure to have a first aid kit, thermal blanket, a working flashlight, a shovel and sand.

And, as always, buckle up before heading out to enjoy all the fall has to offer. Be safe!

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