Fall Weather Safety Tips

Fall is a wonderful time of year, but it does have its share of hazards. Read our safety tips to be prepared this season.

Fall is a wonderful time of year.  The leaves are changing, the kids are back to school, there’s football to watch, apples to pick (and eat!), pumpkins to carve, and the weather is especially pleasant — lower humidity, fewer bugs, and better sleeping temperatures. What’s not to love?

But fall is not without its share of hazards. Here are some tips to be prepared for whatever weather challenges may come your way this season:

In short, never drive through floodwaters! Fall can often times bring with it rainy weather, and heavy rains can be a common occurrence as September and October are still part of hurricane season. So if you encounter fast moving water or a flooded roadway as you are driving or walking, it’s best to turn around and find another route. Abide by the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” adage. You do not know the conditions under the water. All it takes is 6 inches of moving water to make you fall. And keep children and pets from playing in floodwater.

Leaf Hazards
Leaves, while pretty, can pose hazards for motorists. Fallen leaves can gather on roadways and when they become wet, they can create very slick conditions. Add freezing temperatures to the mix and your vehicle will have zero tracking, similar to driving on an icy road. In addition, leaves can cover important road markings (double yellow lines, for example) or deep pot holes. So it’s important to slow down when driving on a leaf-covered roadway. And always give yourself plenty of room between you and the cars around you in case anyone has to stop short.

Children often play in leaf piles so be alert! Never drive through a pile of leaves.

Many “leaf peepers” are out on the roadways and many can be distracted by foliage vistas. Be alert to what other motorists are doing.

Keep your windshield free of leaves so as to not obstruct your view. And if you see dried leaves peeking out from under the hood of your car, take a moment to pop it and clear them away before you take your trip as they can obstruct ventilation holes and overheat your vehicle.

Reduced Visibility
With the days getting shorter, visibility when driving in the fall can be a challenge. Many people walk along the side of the road at dusk with dogs, on horses or riding bicycles, and they can be difficult to see. School is also in session so kids are out playing. Mornings tend to be foggy. Additionally, fall is a time when wildlife is more active and on the move. Slow down when driving, especially on curvy or narrow roads where visibility around corners is difficult, and pay attention to postings for animal crossings, and obey school zone speed limits.

Weather Changes
Fall foliage hikes are fabulous. If you take a hike, be prepared for weather changes as you increase elevation. It may be sunny at the base of the mountain but it could be cold and rainy or even snowy at the summit. Dress in layers, and bring a wind breaker or waterproof shell, plenty of water, and never hike alone.

Water Safety
Many people like to take fall boat rides to see peak foliage. Even if things seem calm on the water, everyone on board should wear a life jacket. Being submerged in water of any temperature for any length of time can cause hypothermia and even the strongest swimmer can be weakened.

Here are a few more maintenance items to do this fall for safety:

  1. Get your furnace serviced. Before winter arrives, it’s a good idea to call a professional to do your annual furnace servicing now.  Your furnace is by far the most important appliance in your home. Have the filters cleaned or replaced. Check to see if you have an annual service contract, which will greatly bring down costs on this important maintenance step.
  2. Fire Safety. When we “fall back” is the time when everyone should replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s also a good idea to have a working fire extinguisher in the house, and everyone who lives there should be familiar with how it works. Hold a Fire Safety Meeting with family members and go over the steps. Do not do any outdoor burning when fire dangers are high. Flying embers can travel and start fires. Never leave candles unattended, especially in Jack-O-Lanterns or on table centerpieces.
  3. Fireplaces. Get your chimney inspected every fall. Hire a chimney sweep to clean out your chimney of debris, nests, etc. before your light your first fire. Use the fireplace screens to protect from flying sparks and embers. Never pour lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline on a fireplace, and never leave a fireplace unattended.
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Fall is my FAVORITE time of year – grew up in PA – live in CA now. I miss the “fall” smell, being able to burn leaves curbside with my dad, going for walks in the woods and spotting deer with my dad at dusk……..those were wonderful memories. Plus i LOVE the wonderful fall colors – it’s just the absolute BEST time of year – lucky i was born in October.

Charlene Caldwell

I love the smell of the Fall weather,the color changes,the cool air,the people change as the air changes from hot to colder. Fall is a season to get going.

Susan Higgins

Thank you, Jose A. for your input and tips!

Susan Higgins

Thank you, Uncle Albert, great tips!

Jose A.

Wow you must be really excited for fall! Lol! Before I say my feelings for the fall, though, let me say mine for the summer now that it’s ending. I am so a summer person. Summer is just full of joy and can’t get enough of it! Wildfires and mosquitoes are the major things I dislike about the summer, and only a few I dislike about the season. I am going to enjoy the last official weekend of summer 2014, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. I already am missing the summer a little. I always look forward to summer. Not that I don’t like any other weather, but summer is what I just get excited for. I know nine months will fly and summer will come again. I’m sad to say goodbye to the summer. 🙁 Already I look forward to summer 2015! Well, fall is like an extended summer though. Movie and music hits can happen in the fall like in the summer. Fall traveling is good, though I think summer traveling is more fun. Hiking is for summer and fall. This is partly why I love fall as much as summer! But I am also happy for fall. I love green trees and the leaves of trees changing color. Weather wise, I love almost anything. Only firestorms, hurricanes, severe blizzards, strong winds, and tornadoes are what I don’t like about the weather. Anything moderate. But the fall is beautiful. I love the landscape of summer and fall. I am not much of a football watcher, though. Winter is what I find so gloomy. I love the holidays of the beginning and end of the year but not much else about the winter. Well, nice safety tips. Use low beams when it’s foggy. And drive more slowly when precipitation falls as well. As the first time of precipitation after a dry summer comes, the roads are the most slippery. (I live where summers are dry and the fall starts to get wet.) And also, this means being careful when the weather conditions make it harder to drive. Because fall changes things in terms of the weather from the summer.

Uncle Albert

Early morning sun on a cold foggy windshield is dangerous, warm up your ungaraged car before heading to work or school. Wipe off side mirrors too. You may be lucky and avoid an accident but may get a ticket from the police for “obstructed vision”.
Beware of deer early evenings and mornings during hunting season too. The deer are running away from hunters and may jump into the road-way.
Just a few tips from Uncle Albert.

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