Bustling school zones and colourful foliage aren’t the only shifts that Fall brings to the road. With crisp temperatures, early sunsets and roaming animals to consider, be mindful of these driving hazards as we move into the Fall.
Stay alert in school zones
According to a 2019 poll by CAA, almost a quarter of drivers reported witnessing a near miss or collision in a school zone, more than half of which involved a child. With schools back in full force for the first time since the pandemic began, be extra cautious while driving through school zones this Fall.
Mind your speed
The speed limit in school zones is 30 km/h between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. If your commute takes you through school zones around lunch time or during pick up/drop off hours, you may want to choose an alternate route to save yourself the traffic and commotion.
Expect animal crossings
Deer are most active during the months of May and November, which have the highest rate of deer collisions throughout the year. According to the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, deer are involved in approximately 80% of wildlife vehicle collisions, many of them occurring at dawn and dusk. Be mindful of crossing wildlife at these hours and when you see the diamond-shaped Wildlife Warning Sign posted. For tips on driving defensively, see our blog on becoming a more defensive driver.
If you do encounter deer on the road, swerve only if you must and if it’s safe to do so. Swerving is a last resort, as losing control of your vehicle can lead to a much more serious accident. If you’re at a standstill, honking and flashing your lights should help encourage deer to move across the road and clear your path. Visit the WCPP website for more tips on reducing your chances of a wildlife collision, and what to do if you encounter a larger animal, like a moose.
Adjust your driving in bad weather and poor visibility
While driving through British Columbia in Fall, you’re likely to encounter fog, rain and even snow. We wrote an entire blog with tips and tricks for driving at night and in compromised visibility. Reading it will inform you on the best ways to navigate foggy roads, reduce headlight glare and get from point A to B safely in variable conditions.
Speaking of poor visibility, this leads us to our next tip…
Be prepared for sun glare
As we move closer to daylight savings time, the sun changes positions in the sky and sets earlier, creating intense sun glare that can be blinding if you’re driving into it. Here are three tips for managing sun glare while driving:
- Make use of the sun visor in your car.
- Keep a pair of sunglasses on hand at all times.
- Make sure your windshield is clean on the inside and out (we suggest leaving paper towels and glass cleaner in your car for a quick fix — just be sure you’re pulled over in a safe place first).
Autumn leaves are beautiful…and hazardous
Fall feels like the perfect time to go for a drive and admire the changing foliage, but the beautiful leaves become a danger once they Fall — hiding pavement markings, blocking drainage and creating a slick mat when wet that’s comparable to driving on ice. Avoid driving on leaves if you can, or if that’s not possible, slow down when taking corners and leave extra space between you and the car in front.
Get your vehicle in winter shape
Although it might seem pre-emptive, our final Fall driving tip is to prepare your car for winter (no, it’s not too early!). As of October 1st, drivers are required to obey winter tire and chain signs throughout the province. You can check the tread on your tires by following the steps in our guide to performing basic car maintenance. We also recommend making sure your road safety kit is properly equipped. You can find a checklist for this in our blog on winter road tips for safe driving. Happy Fall!