Street Smart – Driving Tips for the Fall Season

Posted: October 16, 2014

images-2Longtime Hastings truck driver Tom Skarzynski has put in a lot of miles over the years – and he has some timely advice about fall driving in New England.

Hi folks! I’ve been a professional driver for over thirty five years now and I thought I’d share some of my accumulated wisdom with you. As the fall season is in full swing we should all be making adjustments in our driving habits to counteract the new challenges nature has in store.

Several things come quickly to mind. One of the most dangerous and most easily unnoticed is that the roads are often covered with leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice! Take extra precautions when approaching traffic lights or stop signs. Use the winter strategy of allowing added stopping time between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

The sun is now at a different angle. And it is rising and setting right around the normal rush hours. This can cause blinding conditions! The hilly New England landscape adds to the danger, putting the sun in your eyes unexpectedly as you crest a hill. There are a few things you can do to help with this. Most important is to make sure your windshield is clean. This can make a huge difference! Also, a really good pair of sunglasses is essential. Buy the expensive ones – your life is worth the investment! A baseball cap can help as well. The visor on it gives you a lot better glare protection that your car visor can. If your vehicle has power seats, sometimes raising or lowering them can help as well, by changing your angle of perception.

While on the subject of sun glare, be aware that it is affecting other drivers around you as well. Even if it’s not immediately affecting you, other drivers may be blinded and not able to see you! Or they may not see a red light because of the way the sun is hitting it. A few weeks ago I had this happen three times between Springfield and Enfield! In fact, one of them was a cop. I saw where the sun was as I approached a green light and anticipated the problem, coming to a stop and avoiding a major accident!

We’re not far from freezing weather. It can change drastically this time of year. Elevations can and do amplify the problem. I’ve seen a wet road turn to ice at just over five hundred feet! Good old hilly New England. Again, be aware! Also, changing temperatures often breed fog. If you have fog lights, use them! Even in daylight, lights can make you visible to other drivers.

Happy trails!






Tom Skarzynski, A.W. Hastings
“Sir Drivesalot”