There’s so much to love about fall: the crisp weather, pumpkin picking and, of course football. But while winter is often thought of as being the most dangerous driving season, fall has its own set of potential issues. These fall driving tips will help you navigate the 3 top hazards of the season.

Fallen leaves

They’re fun to jump in. But they’re not much fun to drive in. That’s because they can be more dangerous than you’d think.

  • They might be camouflaging an obstacle, like something sharp, a pothole, or a curb.
  • Wet leaves can cause your tires to slip, so be extra careful going around corners where there might be leaf build-ups.
  • Finally, dry leaves can be a problem if they’re drawn up into your car’s undercarriage and get caught in nooks and crannies.

Chameleon weather

Not sure how to dress in the ever-changing fall weather? That weather chaos translates into hazardous driving conditions as well since fall ushers in a whole host of weather disruptions.

  • You might start out your morning finding frost on the ground. If you’re not sure if the pavement’s dry, take it easy as you back out of your driveway to assess the conditions. Be careful not to turn or stop too sharply as you proceed. And pay special attention when crossing bridges or overpasses as there might be residual ice there even if it’s melted from the other roads.
  • As the day goes on, you might encounter rain, which can make the roads extra slick. Especially early in the season when the rain first starts to fall. That’s because oil and grease have accumulated during the dry season. When the deposits mix with the moisture on the road, streets can become unexpectedly slippery.
  • Another potential fall weather driving hazard: fog. Of course, you’ll want to slow down if you’re driving through fog. But the best way to increase visibility is to use your low beam headlights. That may sound counterintuitive, but it works because stronger lights can reflect off the moisture particles in fog.
  • And finally, as you drive home in the evening, beware the early setting sun, which can cause glare on your windshield. As the days grow shorter, the setting sun can be a factor in your evening commute.

People

Wait, why are people more of a hazard in the fall?! Well, for starters, kids are heading back to school during your morning commute. They may be taking advantage of the chance to walk or bike to school before the inclement weather sets in. And, of course, kids can be unpredictable. They might dash in front of your car to cross the street or not pay attention that you’re turning right. They might be busy chatting with their friends or watching a video on their phone. So be extra cautious as you near crosswalks, other crossings, and as you back out of your driveway.

And the other “people” hazard relates to leaf peepers. If you live in a place where the autumn is glorious, you’re probably drinking in the fall splendor yourself. But often, tourists forget where they are and become oblivious to hazards, like, you know, cars. They might stop anywhere or even wander into the street as they try to capture the perfect photo op, so make sure you’re watching for them — because they might not be watching for you.

Car insurance 101 | Car safety

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.