September is right around the corner, and with it comes increased risk due to certain conditions that don't exist in the summer. Cooler weather, falling leaves and more create situations for which every trucker needs to prepare.
The following five issues are likely to crop up in September, October and November as that familiar chill in the air becomes more common:
1) Fallen leaves can hide big risks
Depending on the part of the country, rain can be a bit more common in the fall, and the combination of the extra water on the road and piles of leaves collecting along road shoulders and curbs can be dangerous, according to Planet Freight. Beneath those piles may be large puddles, mud and more that pose traction problems, so if you drive over them at high speed, you could risk hydroplaning or skidding.
As a general rule, you should give any leaves you see along the roadside a wide berth, just in case.
2) The sun can be a bigger problem
While the summer sun can certainly be difficult to deal with, it's actually a bigger hazard in the fall and winter, Planet Freight added. The reason why has a scientific basis: The sun doesn't rise as high in the sky as the calendar approaches the winter solstice, so later in the fall a bright, sunny day will carry a larger risk of the sun shining straight into your eyes for more hours.
All you may need to combat this is your visor, a hat and sunglasses, but it's best to be prepared.
3) More farm equipment on the road
As farms ramp up production around harvest time this fall, you're likely to see more tractors and other farm machinery on the nation's byways, according to East Coast Truck and Trailer Sales. These vehicles move slowly, so you should approach them with caution and let them go along their way without treating them aggressively. Just like you, they're just trying to get from one place to the other for work.
4) Longer nights
While the sun is hanging lower in the sky during the day, it's also ducking below the horizon more quickly with each passing week throughout fall, East Coast Truck and Trailer Sales cautioned. As such, the nights will start to get longer, and that brings with it unique risks for every trucker to consider. While some drivers like to work at night because the traffic thins out, those who prefer to do so during the day may have to start scheduling things a bit differently.
However, you should definitely brush up on your night driving skills regardless.
5) Unexpected weather conditions
The weather in fall can vary a bit more widely than in summer, and truckers need to be aware of the risks they might face on their day's drive, according to Assured Partners. For instance, mornings may see more fog than you expect, while the aforementioned rainstorms can arise out of nowhere. Likewise, frost becomes more common as autumn wears on, so make sure you check the forecast and road conditions before you head out.
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