Fall is without question my favorite time of year. The leaves change and start to fall, the weather gets crisp and clear, and most importantly, my birthday is in October (it has already passed this year and yes, I will accept belated birthday wishes). But fall can also present its own driving hazards that we don’t think about very often. Use these tips to be the best autumn driver around.
Watch Out for Leaves
Leaves: the silent killers.
Leaves are the most beautiful part of fall, giving tree-heavy areas like ours their particular shades of reds, golds and browns. But you have to keep an eye out for them when you’re driving because they can present several problems. The sneakiest thing leaves can do is get rained on. Any time there is a big fall rainstorm, it knocks leaves down all over the road and makes them slick. Your vehicle can start to hydroplane or slide on piles of leaves in your path much more easily than normal. Remember to drive at safe speeds and if you find yourself starting to slide, take your foot off the gas and gently apply the brake until you feel your tires catch on the pavement again.
On a purely cosmetic note, if you park outside like I do, you’ll probably wake up a fair amount of times this year with your car covered in leaves, from who knows what tree. If these leaves aren’t cleaned off and are allowed to get wet and plastered onto your car, they can stain your paint. Make sure you clear them off as soon as you can, and keep them out of your windshield well.
Check Your Tire Pressure Often
The change in temperature every fall is havoc on the sinuses, but it also acts on the compressed air inside your tires. Air, as we all know from our high school science classes, expands and rises when it gets hot and contracts and sinks when it gets cool. When the weather is cool, your tires will lose 1-2 pounds of pressure every month (or 1 pound of pressure per 10 degree drop in temperature, Fahrenheit). If your car was built after 2007, it has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that will tell you when your tires deviate from the recommended psi. It’s recommended that you check your tire pressure every other time you stop for gas, or at least once a month.
The proper inflation for your tires can usually be found on the inside of your driver’s side door, your glovebox, the fuel door, or the doorpost, as well as in your owner’s manual. Remember not to over- or under-inflate your tires. The correct pressure will keep you safer by increasing your handling ability and as an added bonus, it will help you get the optimum fuel efficiency. If you have questions about your tire pressure, or if you would like to purchase new ones, call our Parts Department at (513) 932-6922.
Prepare for Fall Sunlight
Those clear fall days? They can turn into crazy bright fall sunrises and sunsets. Daylight Savings Time ends every fall (this year, we fall back on November 3 at 2.00am), which means that your commute that you’ve gotten used to this spring and summer might get brighter or darker. “What do I care?” you might ask yourself, “After all, I have prescription Oakley sunglasses because I am the most awesome person on the planet.”
That’s all well and good, but for every well-equipped driver like yourself, there’s five people with poor eyesight who are convinced they can drive in the glare just fine when, the fact is, they can’t. Remember to drive defensively, and you should do just fine.
Be safe out there, everyone! Go outside and enjoy this crisp 65 degree sunshine before it’s replaced by the drab grey of winter.