Autumn Safety Tips for Drivers in Toronto

Edited by Admin
Autumn Safety Tips for Drivers in Toronto

Autumn Driving Tips

As summer heat gives way to the brisk chill of fall, many of the concerns of earlier in this extraordinary year are still with us. Distracted by rising COVID-19 cases or world events, we may forget that autumn is also a time when we need to remember to pay particular attention to  road conditions, and to prepare our vehicles – and ourselves – for fall driving. We often forget during the easy driving days of summer that autumn can present certain challenges for drivers. Be sure to take some time to consider what these might be, and take steps to ensure that you’ll be safe on the road this time of year!


Fall Road Hazards

Some of the challenges that come to the forefront for drivers in the fall include:

  • Deer and other wildlife. According to Statistics Canada, most collisions with deer, elk, and moose happen during the months of October and November, and the greatest number of accidents occur in Ontario. According to the Globe and Mail, there are more than 14,000 collisions between cars and wildlife reported in Ontario every year. And unfortunately, the numbers seem to be rising. There are various reasons why deer and other animals are present in greater numbers during autumn, including the fact that fall is mating season, and also a time when many animals move from one area to another to find vegetation. Dawn and dusk are the times when deer are most active, so avoid travelling during those times, or drive more slowly and carefully. Don’t follow too closely behind another car in case the driver has to stop suddenly. Be careful when you’re driving near a steep ditch or embankment, as deer often pop up suddenly. Keep an eye out for signs warning about deer, and remember that deer can act erratically, darting out in front of vehicles. They may also become confused by your headlights, so if you see one, slow down!
  • Leaves. Many drivers don’t realize that wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. If your car does begin to skid or slew on leaves, don’t brake suddenly; take your foot off the gas and pump the brake lightly until you have the vehicle under control again. Leaves can also obscure the centre line in the road, so if you’re driving through a lot of leaves, watch the edge of the road and be sure that you stay in your own lane.
  • Loss of light. Of course, as summer turns to winter, the days get shorter and shorter, and we have fewer hours of daylight. Be mindful of this if you’re commuting – each day you’ll be experiencing less light than the day before, and it can be harder to see pedestrians, cyclists or children playing in the streets. Check the times for sunrise and sunset, and plan your driving accordingly whenever possible. If it’s not fully light outside when you get into your car, wait for a few minutes before beginning to drive to allow your eyes time to adjust to dimmer light.
  • Bridges. Don’t forget that some spots on the road are more likely to be slippery than others. In addition to wet leaves, morning frost lingers on shaded portions of the road such as bridges or underpasses. Slow down when approaching these areas, particularly in the morning.
  • Rain and fog. In autumn, many areas experience more rainfall and fog than in other seasons. Take precautions if you’re driving in either condition; slow down when it’s raining and remember to stay well behind the car in front of you. If your car begins hydroplaning, take your foot off the gas and lightly pump the brakes until the vehicle is under control. Fog, often present during fall and early winter, can reduce visibility severely, particularly in low-lying areas. Try dimming your lights when you hit a patch of fog.
  • Black ice. In Ontario, black ice is common in the fall. It’s very difficult to see, but be cautious on wet or damp days when the temperature is near the freezing point.
  • Frost. With the coming of lower temperatures, on cold mornings your car’s windshield may be frosted over. Be sure to have an ice scraper handy to clear it off before leaving.

Preparing for Fall

There are a few simple ways to help ensure that your vehicle will be up to the challenges that fall brings. Of course, now is the time to get those winter tires on. As soon as the temperature dips below 7 degrees Celsius, winter tires are in order. Don’t forget to monitor your tire pressure. Check the condition of your windshield wiper blades to make sure they’re in good condition, and switch to using winter washer fluid which is designed to work in cold weather without freezing. And finally, check to be sure your headlights are aimed correctly, and keep them clean.


Enjoy the autumn colours and the crisp, cool weather – and stay safe on the road!