Did you know that fall is the most dangerous season of the year for driving on Virginia roads? Over the last 10 years, 8,034 people were killed in crashes on Virginia roadways. Of those deaths, 10% occurred in October, making it statistically the most dangerous month of the year for crash fatalities.
September and November bring their own unique challenges for Virginia drivers and car insurance. With summer in the rearview mirror and kids back to school, roadways become more dangerous due to increased activity, seasonal changes, and changes in routine. Not discounting the most serious threats to driving safety, such as speeding, aggressive driving, and distracted driving, we will count down the top five fall dangers for Virginia drivers and help you cope with them. Number one might surprise you!
Top 5 Fall Virginia Driving Dangers Countdown
#5 Creeping Fog
Chilly morning and evening temperatures and warm fall days inevitably lead to foggy roadways! Fog occurs more so in low-lying areas, so be aware of a sudden change in road conditions while driving. Adjust your speed and keep your distance from the cars ahead of you to allow more time to stop. Use your low beams rather than high for better visibility. High beams obscure your vision by reflecting the fog’s water molecules, causing a glare. Speaking of glares...
#4 Sun Glare
The sun becomes a significant issue for drivers as summer wanes. As our days get shorter in the fall, the sun moves closer to the horizon and makes it more likely to reflect at low angles and point straight into your car, especially with the end of daylight savings. It also bounces off buildings, windows, and other vehicles, creating sudden blinding while driving. Adjusting your speed is critical during this time of day. Having an easily accessible pair of sunglasses is helpful too.
Even better, this is an opportune time to clean the inside of your windshield. That accumulation of dust, smudges, and smears is magnified when your windshield reflects bright light. Use that visor, too- it can quickly save you from a sudden glare!
#3 Deer Collisions (And Other Critters)
Did you know Virginia often makes the list of the top high-risk states for deer collisions? You should expect deer to be active in Virginia in the fall when they looking for mates during rut season. Be sure to drive carefully from early October to late November to avoid hitting a deer. Keep in mind our comprehensive car insurance includes no-fault deer collision claims. That means you won't have to worry about increasing rates for these common collisions.
#2 Diminishing Daylight
Our days are shortening, and we return to standard time on Sunday, November 5th. We may gain an hour of sleep, but adjusting after driving in long-lasting summer daylight isn't easy. Human reactions are much slower in the dark, and low visibility conditions call for increased stopping distances. According to the National Safety Council, 50% of traffic fatalities happen at night. So, slow down and take your time in the mornings and evenings. That happens to be when those deer are most active too!
Increased stopping distances bring us to the #1 fall driving danger:
#1 Wet Leaves
Not what you were thinking, right? This weather channel video gives you a good idea of how wet leaves combine with speed to make for the most dangerous of all fall driving:
The fact is that 60% of the state of Virginia is covered with trees. That's 15.72 million acres of forestland! Add a fog and rain mix into this fall driving equation. You get a slick, wet blanket covering a road filled with unsuspecting drivers and 105 pounds of hormonal wildlife zig-zagging across their path. Yikes! Our car insurance claim experts have valuable tips for driving in the rain to keep you and your family safe.
Tips to avoid a deer collision
There are practical things you can do to avoid a deer collision:
- Be aware of roadside deer warning signs- they are posted in that area for a reason.
- Deer travel in herds, so if you see one, more are bound to be close or following.
- Deer travel most frequently at dawn and dusk, just in time for your work commute. Use your high beams whenever possible.
- If you encounter an animal while driving, brake and do your best not to hit it, but do not swerve and risk running off the road.
And if you do hit a deer, no worries. You may report a claim online or call our Claims Hotline at 877-968-7252.
How to keep your car insurance rates low this fall
- Buckle up! (DMV says almost half of those killed in Virginia in 2022 were not wearing a seat belt or properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.)
- Slow down. (There were over 24,877 speed-related crashes in Virginia in 2022.)
- Don't drive distracted. (Distracted driving caused 20,679 crashes in Virginia last year.)
THE NORTHERN NECK INSURANCE INTEGRITY PROMISE — We pledge to provide straight talk and good counsel from our NNINS Virginia insurance experts through our blog. While we hope you find this to be a helpful source of information, it does not replace the guidance of a licensed insurance professional, nor does it modify the terms of your Northern Neck Insurance policy in any way. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy.