October has arrived, the kids are back in school, and the summer season is changing into fall. As the days get shorter and we change our focus from carefree vacations to the cooler season ahead, it’s also important to recognize that our focus on the road must change as well.
With back-to-school season in full effect across the country, safety should be a priority for every driver as young pedestrians return to the roadways. Watch out for schoolkids at their bus stops, as they walk to school in the morning, and as they return home in the afternoon, especially as the days get shorter making it easier for them to get lost in the lengthening shadows. Use special caution when driving through residential neighborhoods, around turns, and where children are playing.
Slow down for school buses. School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop to load or unload children. All 50 states have laws making it illegal to pass a school bus that’s stopped to load or unload children, so watch for red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm that lets motorists know the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
When most drivers think of fall driving, they may imagine cool, clear days spent navigating picturesque roads complete with colorful fall foliage.
Fall foliage is certainly beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, those leaves can become slippery, especially when wet. Avoid hard acceleration or braking and sudden turns when driving over leaves in the road, as they can lead to skidding and reduce your control over your vehicle. Additionally, like water, leaves often accumulate in low places and can hide potholes or other dangers in the road.
Besides reducing the car's traction, leaves can cover painted road markings, making it difficult to clearly identify the lanes.
Dry leaves can be problematic as well! Avoid parking your vehicle near leaf piles to prevent fires that could start from your vehicle's catalytic converter. Children enjoy jumping into the leaf piles or burrowing down into them and hiding. A pile of leaves raked to the side of the road is an inviting place to a child, so avoid driving through a leaf pile.
Fall weather is often unpredictable and driving conditions can change from perfect to miserable before you know it. Instead of being one of the better times of the year for driving, fall is actually one of the more treacherous seasons to be traveling.
When Jack Frost leaves his sparkles on the environment, the effect can be magical. However, when he visits a shady patch of highway around a blind corner, the effects can be deadly. Be especially cautious if your driving route takes you over bridges, down tree-lined streets, or anywhere shadows cross dew-laden roadways.
During fall and winter months, bridges can be especially dangerous. Because they are exposed to weather from both above and below, they will freeze over before the rest of the road, and you may not be able to tell until it is too late. Use caution when transiting from the pavement to a bridge surface by steering smoothly, staying off the throttle, and braking gingerly.
These fall driving hazards often require drivers to make sudden stops or navigate slippery road conditions, which means you need your tires to be at their best performance. If your tires are worn or improperly inflated, you may be less able to stop your car in an emergency.
Cooper Tire suggests you spend ten minutes each month to perform a simple tire safety check to monitor your tread depth and pressure, and ensure your tires can safely handle fall’s changing road conditions.
• As a general rule, the deeper the tread depth, the better. Tire tread depth should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep all around the tire. Drivers can check tread depth by inserting the edge of a U.S. penny in between the tread, with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln's head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread. If the top of his head is visible at any location on the tire, it is time to replace the tire.
• While examining the tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage, including cuts, cracks, splits, punctures, and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires and could cause further tire damage if left unchecked.
• Drivers should follow the guidelines found in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard (or sticker) attached to the vehicle door edge to determine the correct air pressure for their vehicle's tires. It’s a common misconception that the tire pressure listed on the sidewall is the optimal pressure – in reality, it’s the maximum pressure.
• Air pressure should be checked when the tires are completely cool.
• If any of these checks indicates a need for tire maintenance, or you’re doubtful about the condition of your tires, bring your vehicle to a tire dealer for a professional inspection.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of long-distance trips is expected to increase by 54 percent during the six-day Thanksgiving travel period. With many travelers preparing to hit the road for fall vacations, Cooper Tire is helping to keep drivers safe and giving you up to $70 back by taking advantage of its Fall Reward Event. Cooper is offering up to a $70 Visa® prepaid card with the purchase of a new set of four qualifying Cooper tires at participating retail stores throughout the U.S., District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, until October 31.
The lineup of qualifying Cooper tires includes the brand new CS5 Touring, CS3 Touring, Cooper Response Touring*, GLS Touring*, Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Cooper Zeon RS3-S, Adventurer A/T*, Discoverer A/T3, Discoverer ATP*, Discoverer CTS, Discoverer H/T, Discoverer H/T Plus, Discoverer HTP*, Discoverer LSX*, Discoverer LSX Plus* and Discoverer RTX*.
*Available at select national retailers only.
In addition, Cooper is rekindling the spirit of life’s everyday road trips with a social media sweepstakes. Visit Cooper Tire’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page to post favorite moments of daily travels in the car, using the hashtag #RollWithCooper, for a chance to win ideal road trip prizes -- including a $5,000 gift card to use toward gas, a winter car-care kit or a camouflage-themed prize pack.
Complete terms and conditions are available at CooperTireRebates.com. Consumers can obtain a rebate form from their local Cooper Tire dealer or download and track their rebate at www.coopertirerebates.com.