Any time the seasons change, it's important for motorists to be aware that road conditions will tend to do the same, increasingly so as the new season wears on. That may be especially true of autumn.
For those reasons and more, it's vital for truckers to be aware of some of the unique driving challenges that arise in the fall, including the following:
1) Be extra careful when the road looks wet
Wet pavement is never a trucker's friend, but in the fall, it can be even more treacherous, according to the law firm of Kane & Silverman. The reason why is simple: Fallen leaves can make slippery conditions especially dangerous. Either the leaves themselves may cause your tires to lose traction, or those piles can be covering up potholes filled with water and large puddles. All of these are driving hazards, and all can be hidden in plain sight.
2) Keep an eye out for animals and kids in the road
The number of potential hazards that could unexpectedly end up in the road rises at this time of year, Kane & Silverman advised. Animals tend to be more active during the fall, (especially deer) and at the same time, with kids going back to school, they're more likely to be out and about. As such, you need to keep a close eye on the road well ahead of you, so that you have plenty of time to stop.
3) Always know when sunrise and sunset will happen
Driving at night is a very different experience in the fall, not least because those dark times get much longer, according to the AARP. But because Daylight Saving will "fall back" later in the season, sunrise and sunset will suddenly start happening at very different times. However, there are some states that do not observed Daylight Saving in the first place. As you plan your routes, you need to account for these ups and downs on an ongoing basis.
4) Bring extra eye protection
As fall arrives and winter draws near, the apex of the sun's path through the sky gets closer to the horizon, the AARP said. What that means for truckers is glare — when the sun seems to be directly in your eyes — is a lot more common, and therefore, driving is more dangerous. You will at the very least need a pair of heavy-duty sunglasses on hand to deal with it.
5) Anticipate frost in the mornings
With fall comes overnight temperature drops that can, in some parts of the country, bring the mercury to near-freezing, according to Dr1v Parts. That, in turn, means roads can be surprisingly frosty in the mornings, increasing the risk your tires lose traction in some cases. This should be easy enough to spot, but it's something you have to be aware of.
6) Make sure your lights all work
Because it's darker for longer in the fall, it's vital to ensure your truck is as visible as possible, Dr1v Parts added. Now is certainly the time to be more diligent about checking that your lights are in good working order.
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