When you have been trucking for a long time you become well-acquainted with the many road hazards you encounter every day. With every season comes different safety threats, and you can get so used to one season that as it rolls over to the next it is easy to forget which ones to be more aware of. Although you may believe that Winter is the most dangerous, Fall has its own set of threats to truckers as well. It is extremely important to remember the dangers that become more prevalent in the Fall to keep you and your fellow drivers safe this season.
Deer usually have their young during the late Spring and early Summer, leaving Fall as the season with the most grown deer running around. As the deer start to migrate around in search of food, a new Winter home, and water sources they will inevitably start to cross roadways to find these things. Although hitting a deer may not cause very much damage to you and your truck, it could potentially cause a lot of harm to the drivers around you. Truck drivers are some of the most highly trained and skilled drivers out there, so it is important to remember to do what you can to help the other, less experienced drivers on the road. How do you do this? Very easily by just keeping that extra eye out for stray deer and having a plan for yourself on how to handle the situation.
Cold weather can create challenges in regulating the tire pressure on your rig. Fall is one of the strange times in the year when it gets really cold at night and into the morning, and then the temperature gradually increases throughout the day continuing this frustrating cycle of cold and warm temperatures. If you have been out driving all day and your tire measures 100 PSI at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (F), over night the temperature could drop to as low as 20 degrees F and when you check again in the morning your tire pressure could be at 90 PSI. As a reference, for every drop in temperature by 10 degrees equates to a loss of two PSI. Most drivers believe that over-inflated tires are your worst enemy, when in reality under-inflated tires are much more dangerous. Before you go out on your route for the day this Fall, spend the time to double-check your tire’s PSI.
Daylight saving time happens every fall sometime in early November. It is important to stay up to date on when these changes are happening to make sure you know to change your clocks as well. When this change happens every Fall, we switch our clocks back an hour, so 4:00pm will now really be 3:00pm, giving ourselves an extra hour until nightfall. However, this usually signals the time in the year where sunset will start to become earlier and earlier, giving truck drivers less daylight time to drive. Driving at night can be dangerous, but driving at night in the Fall can be increasingly difficult with other factors like deer, leaves, and inclement weather. You should plan ahead to either give yourself enough daylight to make your trips, or prepare yourself to spend more time driving in the dark.
The changing leaves are arguably the most beautiful part of the transition from Summer to Fall, but as all good things come to end the leaves will begin to fall and make their way onto the roads and highways. The combination of rain and leaves can be detrimental to safe driving as wet leaves can be as slick as ice and send you off track. Keep this in mind when driving on a roadway that has more leaf coverage and slow down when getting to this part of your route.