Steaming hot coffee, a long drive, and fall views - sounds amazing, right? Fall is the best time of the year for anyone who loves scenic landscapes, natural beauty, and of course driving.
While off-roading in fall can be an amazing experience, driving during this time of the year comes with its own set of challenges. Unpredictable weather conditions and unexpected deer sightings can make things a bit complicated.
Whether you’re a seasoned driver or new to off-roading, these tips will help you prepare for your trip, tackle the challenges, and ensure the safety of those around you.
10 Get Your Car Ready For The Season
Before you venture out on your adventures, make sure to thoroughly inspect your car or pay your local mechanic a visit to ensure that there are no issues with the battery, fluids, brakes, and tires. Be sure to test the car’s battery and check if an oil change is required.
Once you’ve done this, make a check-list of items you would need for off-roading. Some of the items that should be on your check-list are a full gas tank, spare tire and tire changing equipment, tow rope, and a first aid kit.
9 Keep an eye on the surroundings
While this does seem like stating the obvious, fall is a challenging time for off-roading particularly due to wet leaves and windy weather. Frozen or wet leaves scattered across on the ground can impact the traction of your tires and cause accidents if you're not cautious.
Additionally, you may also encounter fall storms, which are quite sudden and intense. These storms can significantly reduce visibility.
So it is recommended to slow down when taking corners, especially on blind corners, to give yourself time to react to unanticipated external factors. Also, when you’re on the road, keep a safe distance with other vehicles because roads can become slippery.
8 Check your headlights
Another key component that needs to be working properly before you start your trip is your car’s headlights. Lower visibility, lack of lightning, and darker days mean that your headlights are really the only things that are guiding you. So it is important to ensure that they are clean and aligned properly.
It is important for the headlights to be aimed properly and aligned correctly because if they’re not, you won’t be able to see any obstacles in the way and react accordingly.
Headlight alignment can be done at home but if you’re unsure, get your mechanic to have a quick look.
7 Dealing with the Frost and Mist
As the temperature fluctuates quite a bit during fall and gets cooler in the evenings or early morning hours, there are chances of having frost on your windows.
It is recommended to keep a scraper in your car, to deal with frost when you’re traveling. Additionally, before embarking on your journey, do check your wiper blades. It is essential for them to function properly if you’re driving in rainy and low visibility conditions.
Lastly, you may also need to demystify your windows by turning the heating on to ensure that you have clear visibility.
6 Measure The Tire Pressure
As it gets cooler, it is possible for your tires to lose some pressure. While most of the cars today are equipped with technology that alerts you regarding tire pressure, if your car doesn’t display these alerts, it is recommended to manually check the pressure. The guidelines for the recommended tire pressure are available in the owner's manual.
Tires can lose one to two pounds of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. Hence, maintaining the tire pressure is an important safety consideration, if you’re off-roading in the fall season.
5 Greater Glare
As the sun moves to a lower position in the sky, during the fall/winter season, it generates more glare, making it harder to see due to the blinding effect caused by the light. The glare is the worst during sunrise and sunset hours. If possible, it is better to avoid driving during those times of the day.
While things like tinting your windows can help reduce the effects of the glare, there is an even simpler solution. Wearing a decent pair of sunglasses. Yes, it is as simple as that. Sunglasses help minimize the glare and help you see clearly.
4 Start Early
One of the most important off-roading tips for fall is starting earlier in the day. This is because days get shorter in fall and evenings are longer.
It is best to drive when the visibility is higher during daylight hours, so starting earlier in the morning is a smart thing to do. Plus, you can enjoy the amazing views and scenic landscapes in the daylight too.
Also, as it gets darker, the reduced visibility makes it harder to see pedestrians and animals. Hence, safety is another reason to start early.
3 Unpredictable Weather
Fall probably sees the most fluctuations when it comes to the weather. One morning it is bright and sunny while on another morning there is torrential rain. Hence, it is strongly recommended to check the weather forecast before planning your next off-roading adventure.
Frequent rains are the reason for wet grounds and slippery roads. Additionally, storms can make this situation even worse. So, it is important to keep your speed in check while driving and keep an eye on the external conditions. Speeding can result in loss of traction and cause collisions and accidents.
2 The Leaves
Undoubtedly the colorful leaves are the highlight of fall and the main reason why most of us go for long drives in Autumn. However, these leaves can make driving quite challenging, particularly when they’re wet, due to rain or dew.
Wet leaves reduce the traction of your tires making it harder to brake if you’re driving too fast. They can even cause skidding. Hence, it is important to maintain your speed and steer clear of a pile of wet leaves, where possible. If you can avoid the leaves, try to maintain a safe distance with other vehicles and avoid speeding.
1 Watch Out For Animals
With fall comes the increased presence of deers on roads and paths that are near woods and meadows. Sadly, there is also an increase in the number of collisions and accidents.
If you do see a deer, it is advisable to slow down and wait. Sometimes, there are more than one deers moving together. It is also a good idea to flash the high beams to alert other drivers near you.
If you are driving and can’t avoid hitting a dear, it is strongly advised to not veer the vehicle. Press the brakes firmly and continue in the same direction until your car comes to a stop. Avoid swerving at all costs because it has the potential to cause even more damage.