Autumn is in full swing here in the Oakdale area, which means the leaves are falling and the air is brisk. With Daylight Savings Time behind us and shorter days ahead, there is no doubt that the changing seasons will bring safe driving challenges. Car insurance agencies file many claims for their customers during this time of year, and we don’t want you to have to be one of them. Before you get behind the wheel of your car, continue reading to learn what you can do to avoid accidents and driver safer this fall.
Deer Rut and Animal Migration
An often overlooked hazard during the fall is the rut and migration of other animals in our area. Deer crossing signs are scattered on the sides of roads all over the Land of 10,000 Lakes, so pay attention if you notice one while you are driving. Deer can be active anywhere and at any time of the day, but they are especially active at dawn and dusk. If you do notice a deer in the road, try to maintain control of your vehicle as you come to a stop. Avoid swerving if at all possible.
Leaves may seem harmless, but they can cause a lot of mischief on the roads. For instance, did you know that fallen, wet leaves can be just as slippery and dangerous as ice? Reduce your speed when driving down a road covered in leaves, and avoid braking hard on them. Even if they are dry, keep in mind that piles of leave could be hiding hazards beneath them, such as broken glass or large potholes.
Low Tire Pressure
As temperatures begin to rise and fall here in Minnesota, tire pressure will also fluctuate resulting in a loss of air pressure. Underinflated tires significantly increase the risk of an accident. In fact, vehicles with tires more than 25 percent under inflated are three times as likely to be in an accident. Even tires that are only slightly underinflated can overheat, which could increase the risk of failure. Be sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure frequently. If your vehicle is not equipped with a tire pressure warning system, regularly check your tire pressure with a pressure gauge kept in your car.
Snow and Ice
While other areas of the country will soon see their first frost, it is only a matter of time before we here in Minnesota are shoveling our driveways. With colder temperatures come icy windshields and dangerous driving conditions. Be sure to reduce your speed and maintain a greater distance between other vehicles – especially when visibility is poor and roads are slick. If you find yourself driving through fog, turn down your lights to low-beam for safety.
Prepare for Emergencies
Every driver in Minnesota should keep an emergency kit in their vehicle, especially as the temperatures fall. Be sure to include a thermal blanket, a first aid kit, some water, non-perishable food, jumper cables, and a few basic tools.