Fall offers picturesque views of foliage, but it's also a period to be watchful of safety risks.

3 top tips for fall driving safety

Autumn is a season of transition. Right in between summer and winter – the two periods where hot and cold weather reach their extremes – fall makes the changeover from sweltering heat to bitter cold a bit more tolerable.

But just because the weather during this time of year tends to be on the milder side, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its fair share of risks. Two strong examples of that are Hurricane Harvey and Irma. It’s also a period where flood potential is high, as flooding is the No. 1 natural disaster in the United States, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In the last five years, in fact, all 50 states have seen flooding or flash flooding.

The effects of fall are felt not only at home, but also on the road. And with school back in session, there’s no let up in traffic, despite the summer travel season coming to an end. The following are some of the issues to be mindful of as the temperatures dwindle and the leaves fall:

Increase following distance

In addition to it getting colder out, it’s also getting darker. In fact, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, it will likely be a moonlit sky when you leave for work and when you head home. Because of this, it’s a good idea to increase your following distance during the commute, leaving yourself about four seconds between you and the nearest car ahead. This gives you more time to come to a stop when following a vehicle that applies the brakes without warning.

Check headlights

Your headlights will be getting more of a workout as well with fewer hours of daylight. Check to see the last time you replaced your headlights. Generally speaking, they last between 1 and 3 years, depending on how often you drive. Also, clean your headlights with an all-purpose solution so that you notice the distinction between your low and high beams. This is important not only so you can see, but also so others can see you.

Watch out for deer

Autumn is the peak season for deer strikes, most of which occur in October, November, and December, according to auto insurance claims statistics and the Insurance Information Institute. Road signs will indicate when you’re in a deer crossing zone. Keep an eye on the sides of the road for deer. Should one enter your lane, do your best to avoid swerving if you can’t apply the brakes in time. It’s actually better to hit the deer than risk veering into another lane, as this could lead to a more serious accident.

Following these suggestions – in addition to obeying all traffic laws and keeping tabs on the weather – can help ensure you enjoy your autumn this year.