Did you know that fall is one of the most dangerous seasons of the year on Virginia highways? DMV said 245 people have been killed in Virginia car crashes to date in 2022. That is up 12% from the same stage in 2021. October experiences the most motor-vehicle 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 to your routine. Let’s count down the top five fall dangers for Virginia drivers and how to cope with them. Number one might surprise you!
5 Fall Driving Dangers in Virginia
#5 Creeping Fog
Chilly morning and evening temperatures and warm fall days inevitably lead to foggy roadways just in time to set the mood for Halloween! Fog occurs even more so in low-lying areas, so be aware of a sudden change in road conditions. Slow it down and keep your distance from the cars ahead of you. Use your low beams, rather than high, and you’ll be in the clear, so to speak.
#4 Sun Glare
The sun becomes a significant issue for drivers as summer wanes. As our days get shorter, 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 some dangerously blinding driving conditions. Nothing that an easily accessible pair of sunglasses won’t cure. This is a good 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 10 worst states for deer collisions? That's why our comprehensive car insurance includes no-fault deer collision claims. You won't have to worry about increasing rates for these common incidents. Then, be sure to drive carefully from early October to late November to avoid hitting a deer. You should expect deer to be active in Virginia until December when they are on the move to find a mate during rut season.
#2 Diminishing Daylight
Our days are shortening, and we return to standard time on Sunday, November 1st. We may gain an hour of sleep, but adjusting after driving in long-lasting summer daylight isn't easy. Your reaction times 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. Remember, that’s when those deer are most active too! Don't miss our safe driving tips and how to keep kids safe when the car breaks down.
Speaking of increased stopping distances brings us to the #1 fall driving danger.
#1 Wet Leaves
Yep. This weather channel video gives you a good idea of how wet leaves combine with speed and make for the most dangerous of all fall driving:
The fact is that 60% of the state of Virginia is covered with trees, with 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
- 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. Call our 24/7 Roadside Assistance at 800-913-8847 and 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 (Failure to use seat belts or child safety restraints was responsible for 52.6% of all 2019 traffic fatalities)
- Slow down (speeding contributed to 42.2% of all traffic fatalities in Virginia fatalities)
- Don't drive distracted (Distracted driving caused 23,246 crashes in 2019).