Lower Mainland drivers may be asking, “what autumn?”. While it’s true that the early fall weather has been sunny and warm, and roads consequently clear, the rains and freezing highway temperatures common to the season in B.C. are en route. Don’t wait until it’s too late to take the necessary precautions.
Today, Park Insurance is here to prepare you for the season ahead (whenever it decides to show up) so that you and your passengers remain safe, and claim free.
5 Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Hitting the Road this Fall
1. Orange is the New Black
You may be waiting in fear of the black ice that the impending winter season will bring, but here in the fall, you have another beast to contend with. While the pretty orange colors of leaves may have you grabbing for your camera, the tone means they are reaching the end of their road, and will be falling from their perch and hitting the asphalt in clumps. Their inherent moisture, combined with seasonal dew, creates a road surface almost as slippery as ice. The more cars that drive over top, the worse it gets. Leaves also make it more difficult to spot potholes and crevices.
Thankfully, you can notice the bright colors well in advance, so keep your eyes on the road and slow down when driving over road sections that are littered with leaves.
2. Anticipating Shorter Days
You’re coming off summer driving and have developed daily commuting habits because of it. But now that the autumn equinox has passed, the days are rapidly getting shorter and you’ll have to adjust as the season progresses into what feels like perpetual dusk.
For one, make sure your headlights, taillights, and fog lights are in working order. That once well lit drive to and from the office will soon be a much darker experience. The position of the sun at a business day’s end (5 to 6 PM) also lands closer to your driving line of view, so be sure to bring sunglasses as the windshield glare from a setting sun can be hazardous. Also take note of school zones, which have extended hours in the autumn, and exercise more caution by following these school year safe driving tips.
3. Wipe Away the Rains
The average amount of rainfall escalates in October, with November being the wettest month on average. We have entered the official rainy season in B.C. folks. This calls for an immediate inspection of your wipers. Here’s what to look for:
- Detached frame (at arms or connection points)
- Corrosion or metal joints and claws (look for rust)
- Cracks, tears, and/or missing pieces along the rubber squeegee
- A loss of flexibility in the squeegee (remove and bend to check). Once back in, give it a tug to ensure that the wiper blade has been securely reinstalled on the wiper arm.
- Rounded edges on the squeegee wiper (will keep the blade from making proper contact with the windshield)
Of course, nothing will test wipers quite like putting them to task. Head outside at the first sign of rain, and activate (before hitting the road) your wipers under the downpour and note any streaking or skipping while in operation. If evident, wait until the rain clears and drive to your nearest hardware store (or mechanic) and have them replaced. Issues aside, a good rule of thumb is to change your wiper blades every six months. Once at the onset of spring, and again at the onset of autumn.
4. Be Careful, Deer
Deer in BC begin migrating in the autumn, which means country roads will be riddled with these natural pedestrians. However, urban centers are not free from this roadway concern, as limited access to food in the fall brings them down from the mountains towards more metropolitan areas in search of nutrition.
The best course of action, is to keep your eyes peeled for deer when driving in high risk areas, noting highway signs that warn you accordingly. They tend to roam most at dawn and dusk so be extra cautious during these times of the day. At night, look ahead for the glow of their eyes to anticipate and prevent a collision. You may also consider installing a deer whistle on your vehicle. The effectiveness of the latter has been debated, but it doesn’t hurt to add one more layer of prevention. If you do see a deer on or near the road, slow down as they may dart past without a moment’s notice. Once you’re well in the clear, feel free to give them a honk to scare them into the hills.
5. Don’t Give In to Tire Pressure
BC temperatures fluctuate a lot in the autumn. It can go from double digits in the afternoon to zero (or lower) at night and in the early AM. This will cause your tires to expand and contract which can ultimately lead to a loss of pressure, something you don’t want to worry about when on the road. Monitor your tire pressure regularly, and often when on longer road trips across the province or country.
Last but not least, make sure your automobile insurance is up to date and that your policy is comprehensive enough to cover you for any concern that can come your way in this otherwise beautiful time of the year. Contact Park Insurance to speak with an independent insurance broker today.