The fall season is a great time to be a trucker. The weather cools to a more comfortable temperature, the roadways are a little less congested after summer vacations, and the changing leaves give the landscape a colorful tapestry across the country.
However, fall can present some unique driving challenges. Changes in weather, wildlife activity, and road conditions can make the fall roads dangerous, so you need to be prepared.
Fall Driving Tips for Truckers
1. Monitor Tire Pressure
The changes in temperature can affect the PSI in your tires, so be more vigilant with checking tire pressure, especially on cold fall mornings. Tire pressure can have an impact on handling, braking, and fuel-efficiency, so never ignore this important factor.
2. Check Tire Tread
While you’re down looking at the tires, take a moment to inspect the tread as well. Fall roads can get slick with rain, ice, and wet leaves, so having good tread is vital for your overall safety.
3. Put an Ice Scraper in Your Truck
You never know when that first freeze is coming, so it only makes sense to put an ice scraper in your truck in the fall. The months of September and October can see 80 degrees on one day and 30 degrees at night, so make sure you have the essential tools in your cab to clean your windows and mirrors.
4. Use Care on Leaf-Covered Roadways
As the leaves begin to fall, many of them will end up on roadways. Mix in a little rain, and you have a slick surface that spells danger for all motorists. If you see leaves on the road ahead, assume they are as slick as ice and proceed with caution.
5. Use Low Beams during Fog
Fog, especially in the early fall mornings, can severely limit visibility. If you find yourself on a foggy road, only use your low beams, as high beams will create a glare and reduce visibility even further.
6. Keep Headlights on When Wipers are in Use
Many states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and California, for example) legally require the use of headlights when wipers are in use. It may not be a law where you’re traveling, but whether it’s a down-pouring rain or a light drizzle, if you have your wipers on, it’s a smart practice to keep your lights on as well.
7. Be Prepared for Deer on the Road
Fall marks the start of heavy deer activity, so you need to watch carefully for any deer that might dart in your path. Deer generally travel in herds, so if you see one, assume there may be more coming. Fall is the deer’s breeding season, so they are on the move looking for...well, you know. Deer hunting and farming activity will also cause increased movement in deer, increasing the chances of a collision.
According to State Farm, West Virginia is the worst state for deer collisions, with Montana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota rounding out the top five. The insurance provider also says that November is the worst month for deer collisions, followed by October and December.
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