Fall is a time for hay rides, leaf peeping and pumpkin picking. It’s also a time when road and weather conditions make getting there a little tougher.
Stay safe on the road this season with these smart driving tips.
Don’t brake on leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard braking. Leaves may obscure lane lines and other road markers, so pay attention to the edge of the road and take care to stay in your lane, advises PennDOT.
Avoid sun glare. On and near the autumnal equinox (which fell on September 22 in 2018), the first 15 to 45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to sun glare. The sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways during this time. Grab a good pair of sunglasses for the daytime, keep your windshield clean and use north/south streets or streets with tree cover when possible, says the National Weather Service.
Use your rain smarts. During fall, many cities see increased rainfall. When it’s raining, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, as the wet roads may be more slippery than usual and you may be at higher risk of hydroplaning. Use your low beams or fog lights (never high beams) in fog conditions, says the Safety Council.
Be careful on bridges. As the temperature begins to drop, morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses and shaded spots on the road. Slow down.
Adjust your eyes. We lose 1 to 2 minutes of daylight daily after the autumnal equinox according to the National Weather Service. After leaving home or the office and before hitting the gas petal, give your eyes time to adjust to the dark, advises the Minnesota Safety Council. It takes them between 2 and 5 minutes to start adjusting.
Make sure your vehicle is up to the task. That means you should:
Check your tire pressure. Tires lose 1 to 2 pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop, according to the Safety Council.
Replace your windshield wipers. A really clean window can help you see when there’s glare.
Adjust your headlights. If your headlights seem too dim, ask your mechanic to make sure they’re aligned properly.
Watch out for deer. Autumn marks the beginning of deer breeding season and they will be more active in areas near the road, says the PennDOT. Deer are most active during sunset and sunrise so be extra watchful when driving near the woods and near deer crossing signs.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2018) – Ride-hailing services are a popular and convenient transportation option, but a new AAA analysis shows they are not a cost-effective replacement for vehicle ownership. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average driver in an urban area – the only setting in which using these services are a practical full-time transportation option – drives 10,841 miles per year. While urban drivers travel fewer miles than those living in smaller towns or rural areas, relying on ride-hailing services as a primary mode of transportation would cost $20,118 annually. This equates to more than twice the cost of owning a personal vehicle, even when factoring in the expense of fuel, insurance, parking and the vehicle itself.
“Whether you own a vehicle or not, ride-hailing services are a convenient transportation option,” said John Nielsen, managing director, Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, with the average American city-dweller driving nearly 11,000 miles per year, a personal vehicle is still the more cost-effective choice.”
For the study, AAA analyzed the costs of ride-hailing services (including the use of an occasional rental car) in 20 major urban areas. Based on the average number of miles traveled by city-dwellers, annual ride-hailing costs are as follows:
Salt Lake City
According to data from AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study, the average annual cost to own and operate a new vehicle, the costliest form of vehicle ownership, is $7,321 for 10,841 miles of travel annually. Understanding that parking costs can be a major ownership expense for those living in urban areas, AAA also analyzed the costs of flat-rate parking per year, which ranges from $706 (Phoenix) to $8,088 (New York), with an average cost of $2,728. For those with access to free parking, relying on ride-hailing services is nearly three times more expensive than vehicle ownership in these cities.
“For those who travel a very limited number of miles annually, or have mobility issues that prevent them from driving a personal vehicle, ride-hailing can be a viable and important option,” continued Nielsen. “But, for everyone else: the car is still king.”
Vehicle owners looking to minimize their operating costs should consider the following:
Buy (gently) used – Depreciation is the single largest expense for vehicle owners. By driving a pre-owned vehicle in good condition, ownership costs are significantly lower. A safe, reliable vehicle can be found at an attractive price point.
Fuel responsibly – Avoid wasting money on premium gasoline unless your vehicle specifically requires it and, if you’re one of the 20 percent of Americans considering an electric car, these vehicles offer lower fuel and maintenance costs.
Show your car some love – It sounds counterintuitive, but spending money on routine maintenance can actually save you money in the end. To keep engines running longer, consider switching to synthetic oil and upgrading to TOP TIER™ gasoline.
Slow down – When gas prices are high, small changes in the way you drive can make a big difference.
To determine the average number of miles traveled by a city-dweller, AAA’s analysis leveraged data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s American Driving Survey. AAA’s Your Driving Costs data served as the basis for all car ownership calculations, factoring in depreciation, fuel, maintenance, repair, financing, insurance, license, registration costs and taxes. Total cost of ride-hailing is based on data from 243,838 economy-level, single rider trips in 20 U.S. urban areas and does not factor in costs associated with carpooling or multimodal transportation options. On average, those using ride-hailing services spent an average of $13.15 per trip, spending 15.11 minutes and traveling 6.66 miles. Ride-hailing costs include the occasional use of rental vehicles for longer distance travel. Full methodology can be found in the study’s fact sheet.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.