It’s September, which means falling leaves, cooler weather and rainy days. It also means children are back in school and roads are busier. So, as weather and road conditions change with the fall season, take a few simple measures to ensure that you and your family are safe this season. Preparing your vehicle and adjusting your driving habits can make all the difference.
Prep your vehicle
Before the cold weather sets in, make sure you check up on your car’s fluids, tires, brakes and more. Here is an auto maintenance to-do list for fall:
Fall auto maintenance to-do list
Ensure that your car has clean oil, which will minimize wear and help with smooth starting.
Check your brake fluid to see if it is clean and full. Low brake fluid can reduce brake pressure when you apply the pedal and make them feel mushy.
Top up your windshield washer fluid. Make sure it is rated to at least -40 degrees in anticipation of the coming winter.
Check your engine coolant. It is essential that your radiator and engine coolant be in top shape during the fall, as they help provide you with interior heat on cold days.
Check your tires, ensuring they have good tread to improve traction. Fallen, wet leaves can be slippery!
Be ready to switch to winter tires when the temperatures drop to freezing.
Make sure you have adequate brake-pad life and non-warped rotors. If your brakes constantly squeal each time they are applied, it may be time for new brakes.
Make sure your battery and ignition system are in top shape by having them tested. A weak battery is a top reason for being stranded as temperatures plummet.
Replace any burnt-out headlights or brake lights. Having working lights is especially important for this season, with gloomy weather and fewer daylight hours.
Finally, don’t forget your wipers! Having a good set of wipers will help keep your vision unobstructed on rainy days when you need it most.
Adjust your driving
Not only should you prepare your car, but prepare yourself as well. Drive for the conditions! Here are some points to consider.
Slow down when driving on roads covered with leaves, especially when going around a corner or turning.
Cold autumn mornings can bring fog, which can limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Use low beams, not high beams, which actually make visibility worse because they bounce off the fog and create glare.
Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you in the event of an emergency stop.
Keep an eye out for children on the road, walking to school and crossing at crosswalks.
Frost and black ice also make a return in the fall, particularly during the late night and early morning hours, so exercise caution and brake gently at overpasses and bridges, as these areas are more prone to be slippery.
As fall progresses, there will be fewer hours of daylight. When it’s dark outside, be on the lookout for other cars, cyclists and pedestrians — Lane Departure Warning, Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert available on Buick vehicles can come handy in such conditions.
The autumn season is beautiful in Canada, with changing colours and crisper weather. Take a weekend road trip, visit a park and enjoy the view (provinces even have online “fall colour reports” you can google before you go). But, if you’re the driver, keep your eyes on the road until you arrive at your destination!
Algonquin Park in Ontario.
7 top places to see fall foliage in Canada
1. Algonquin Park, Ontario
A beautiful park outside of Toronto with red maple leaves at their best at the end of September or early October.
2. Niagara Parkway, Ontario
The Niagara Parkway is the route that Winston Churchill called “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world,” especially in early October when the fall colours are at their finest.
3. Bruce Peninsula, Ontario
Explore amazing fall colours on foot, hiking along the 890-kilometre-long Bruce Trail.
4. Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
The Laurentian Mountains are known as one of the most beautiful displays of fall foliage in North America, with sugar maple trees and yellow birch trees.
5. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail is spectacular as leaves transform to vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow, peaking in early October.
6. Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Ride the Banff Gondola to see spectacular views of this lovely region, which comes alive with colours of yellow, gold and green in fall.
7. Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.
Often given the title of the best park in the world, Stanley Park in the fall is stunning, even though many trees stay evergreen. Catch the views from Prospect Point, with fall colours peaking in October and even into November on the west coast.