How can I Drive Safely in the Fall?September 27, 2021
Every season brings new driving challenges. Fall is no exception. Changing leaves, cooler weather, and football season are joined by fewer hours of daylight, slippery roads, and school zones packed with children. Drivers need to be especially vigilant as youngsters return to the classroom, and they must be aware of changing road conditions. Following some guidelines can ensure safe travel and avoid a car accident.
Tips for Safe Driving This Fall
Following are some tips to help you drive safely this fall.
- Watch for children. Remember that school is back in session. The school zone lights will be flashing, and drivers should obey those speed limits. School bus safety rules are also back in force. Do not go around a bus, as there may be children in front of it. Always stop when approaching or following a bus with its stop sign out. Be aware of more youngsters walking or biking to school, too. It is easy to get used to summer driving, but the safety of students on foot or buses should be top-of-mind in the fall.
- Beware the fallen leaves. As beautiful as fall leaves are, they can wreak havoc on the roads when they fall. Both wet and dry leaves can be slippery, so drive over them with caution. Also, try not to brake suddenly with leaves under your tires, as your car could skid.
- Watch for slippery roads. Fall can be chilly and rainy, causing the streets to become slippery, especially if temperatures fall. It is not uncommon for a thin layer of ice to form on a wet road. Black ice is common, meaning that drivers cannot distinguish the layer of ice from the road itself. Always slow down and brake slowly on a wet autumn road, especially when a sign cautions that a bridge or overpass freezes before the roadway.
- Plan for daylight changes. That summer practice that ended at 6:00 p.m. in strong sunshine now will end at 6:00 p.m. in the waning daylight. Try to plan for the differences in both evening and morning daylight that fall brings. The visibility of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles can be hampered, so always be cautious when daylight changes.
- Guard against glare. As you plan for daylight changes, also be aware that some of the strongest sunlight happens in the fall because of the sun’s changing position. That morning drive to work could be blinding, so keep the sunglasses handy. Always remember to use your car’s visors, too. It is challenging to see stoplights in blinding sun, so always use caution as you approach one.
- Look out for animals. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that drivers are over three times more likely to hit a deer in November than any other time of year. Deer mating season makes them roam, so use caution in areas that have heavy deer populations. Other animals, too, often roam at dusk looking for food or shelter, so remember darkness comes earlier in the fall.
- Do not get caught in the dark. A road trip that included driving until 9:00 p.m. in the summer means that much of that same drive will be in the dark during the fall. Plan for this, especially if you do not like to drive at night. Also, remember that many drivers do not drive well when the sun goes down, so use defensive driving if you are out after dark. Headlights can be your best friend, so be sure to use them as soon as dusk begins and in the rain and foggy conditions.
- Check your tires. In the fall, temperatures can go from freezing to hot in the space of a few hours. Tires expand and contract with the weather, so ensure that your car’s tires are at the correct pressure. Low tire pressure can cause a vehicle to skid or take longer to stop on braking.
- Be ready for winter weather. Fall is an excellent time to ready your car for winter. Indeed, snow and ice are common in the fall, so it is never too early to be prepared. Check the car’s fluids, put on snow tires if necessary, and get an oil change or tune-up. Check that the battery is charged enough to make it through a cold winter. Be sure your car’s emergency kit is stocked with extra food, water, blankets, a shovel, ice melter and scraper, snow brush, and sand or cat litter for traction.
- Plan. Every time there is a change in season, there is a change in driving. The key is to plan for more people on the road, less daylight, colder weather, or more treacherous driving conditions. For example, the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving is one of the most heavily traveled days on the road. Plan to drive at another time. Also, plan for the weather in the fall. Conditions can go from summer-like to wintry, so check the weather forecast and drive accordingly.
What Should I Do after a Fall Car Accident?
No matter how careful you drive, there is no guarantee that other motorists will share your safe-driving habits. If you are involved in a car accident, the following tips can help.
- Call 911. Getting medical attention is the first step after an accident. Call 911 if able. In most cases, bystanders and other motorists will often call as well.
- Check for injuries. If able to move freely and exit the car, check yourself and your passengers for injury. Administer light first aid, such as stopping a bleeding gash, but only to your abilities. Do not cause additional harm.
- Cooperate but do not overshare. Answer the law enforcement officer’s questions truthfully and succinctly, but do not overshare information. Remember that anything said will be noted as part of the original police report.
- Do not admit guilt. Anything said to anyone can be used in a later legal claim should there be one. Never admit guilt or responsibility for an accident, and do not apologize, as that implies guilt.
- Capture images. Use your cellphone to take video and pictures of the accident scene. Try to capture the location of the cars involved, vehicle damage, strewn parts, injuries, and weather and road conditions.
- Get witness statements. If able, talk to bystanders and other witnesses. Many people are willing to provide statements. Get their comments along with their names and contact information. Record them on your cellphone if they are amenable to that.
- Seek additional medical care. Some injuries, such as whiplash or even brain injuries, can take hours or days to appear. Always seek medical care at the scene of an accident, after an accident with your primary doctor, and anytime new symptoms arise.
- Do not accept an insurer’s initial offer. Insurance companies want to minimize their losses as much as possible. When another motorist causes an accident, their insurance company will almost always offer you a quick settlement. Do not take it. The insurer is preying on your fears about medical costs, lost wages, and other issues. Their initial offer will never cover your total current and future losses.
- Hire a lawyer. An experienced lawyer understands how insurers operate. They can defend against those tactics and help guide you toward a fair and just settlement. Sometimes that means back-and-forth negotiations with an insurance company. Other times the lawyer will recommend taking the case to court. Whether through negotiation or litigation, a lawyer can help ensure that you do not shoulder the entire burden of costs from someone else’s negligence.
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Accident Victims and Their Families
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, reach out to the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. No one should suffer the physical, financial, and emotional devastation of a car wreck that happens in the fall or any other time of year. Every victim has the right to be fully compensated for the damages and costs they incur because of someone else’s negligence. We will fight for you and your loved ones injured in an accident. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.