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Tips for Looking at Colorful Fall Leaves Without Driving Dangerously

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How to view breathtaking autumn foliage without swerving or slowing like a distracted driver

As autumn rolls in and temperatures fall, more and more drivers will be out on country roads for Sunday afternoon drives to behold the breathtaking scenery. You might be one of those nature-lovers planning to round up the family and set out on a fall leaves sightseeing tour.

Just because deciduous trees are more dazzling during this season doesn’t mean your driving habits should change and turn you into a road hazard. Don’t be one of those drivers who crawls along at 30 mph under the speed limit or swerves across the median to get a clear view of the canopy overhead.

Listen to this advice for viewing autumn leaves without driving like a loon.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT: A good vehicle choice for your next leaf-viewing road trip

Advice to Safely See the Fall Colors from Your Car


happy family in black car husband wife

1. Have a D.D. (Disinterested Driver)

Although the person who suggests the idea of travelling to see the fall colors is also the one who volunteers to drive, don’t let them get behind the wheel. Friends don’t let friends drive drive who can’t keep their eyes on the road. Instead, have someone in the group who isn’t really keen on ogling the foliage operate the vehicle; that way, they’ll be less likely to lose focus and take their eyes off the road. Maybe even let that person control the radio as a reward for putting up with your group’s gaiety.

If you absolutely must drive but you want to see the leaves, have someone else take pictures for you, or take turns behind the wheel with the understanding that whoever’s driving cannot be distracted.


2. Plot a Wise Route

The time of day, recent weather conditions, and general route can greatly affect your driving experience.

  • Don’t pick a direction that takes you into the sunset or sunrise; the glare will make it harder for you to see and others to see you (additionally, there are ways you can reduce windshield glare). Avoid driving East or West at those times of day.
  • Don’t pick a major road that’s full of traffic. Pick one that’s off the beaten path and less likely to be populated by a caravan of other rubbernecking motorists.
  • Don’t hit the road if it’s rained or stormed recently; the pavement will be covered in wet leaves that make the street slick. Wait for a period that’s dry and sunny; don’t pick a route that’s directly overcast by deciduous trees.


old lady granny driving car woman elderly driver

3. Drive Like Normal (or, like a normal person)

Pretty, colorful dying foliage is no excuse for driving like you’re 92 and have no steering wheel. Don’t make sudden, unpredictable stops that make you a hazard; it’s better to pull over or turn around than to slam on your brakes. Give other drivers extra space, especially if they’re from out-of-state. Drive with your lights on to be seen better by other spectators, even in the daytime.

Keep your eyes down instead of up. While you may be tempted to be looking up at treetops, you’ll be missing potholes, animals, stop signs, and other vehicles by taking your eyes off the road.

If your posse is demanding that you slow down so they can see better, take them through a state park where it’s acceptable to drive slower and see the sights. You can even stop and have a picnic lunch to let everyone see the trees up-close.


girl with dog in fall autumn leaves

4. If You’re on Your Own…

Sometimes, you just want to hit the open road without having passengers to accompany you. While driving for fun is all well and good, it’s not a wise way to view the changing leaves.

If you’re on your own, consider walking in a park instead of driving, or hooking up a GoPro to watch the footage later. Invite someone you know to come along and take pictures for you, or schedule a later date you can go with your friends/family. It’s better to have patience or miss an opportunity than to risk harming yourself and others.


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