Autumn brings safe driving challenges

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Bob Sharp for Sharp Tips safe driving column, August 2013 Courtesy of Art Crane
Bob Sharp for Sharp Tips safe driving column, August 2013 Courtesy of Art CraneContributed Photo

[Editor's Note: The following is the sixth in a series of safe-driving tips from Bob Sharp, a Sherman resident and member of the Sherman Traffic Safety Work Group.]

Fall is here and winter's not far behind; both seasons create special conditions you need to watch out for to drive safely.

You may have heard it before, but it's worth repeating -- wet leaves can be a slippery as ice.

Beware of how they can affect your tires' traction, especially going around curves. And look out for hidden hazards that might be concealed in piles of leaves in your path.

A word about blind spots: Almost every vehicle has them -- a portion of your rear vision that's blocked by the roof pillars of your car or the aiming of your mirrors.

Adjust your side mirrors so they are just slightly outboard of your sight of the back of your car, and use them.

If in doubt, in addition to using your mirrors, take a quick glimpse behind you when you're changing lanes or making a turn.

More on blind spots: The other guy's? Stay out of them.

If you're passing a car, remember the driver may not know you're there if you're in his blind spot. Don't linger next to him, especially if you might be in his blind spot.

Make your pass and get back in lane where you can be sure you're clearly seen. And always pass with the anticipation the car you're passing won't see you and might move against you. Make a plan for what you'd do. That's what defensive driving is all about.

Many cars these days are equipped with DRLs -- daytime running lights that are on all the time. I often see people who have them on in the dark and forget to put on their full head and tail lights.

As a result, front lighting is limited and the back of your car is unlit. So remember to turn on your full headlights at dusk.

And as a final note, with the change in seasons comes a change in the amount of daylight and the position of the sun. Adjust your driving accordingly and be aware of the changing conditions.

And, once again, no distractions and no texting while driving!

If you have a question or a suggestion for future Sharp Driving tips, send it to Bob in care of the Sherman Traffic Safety Work Group at Bob Sharp was a six-time, Sports Car Club of America national racing champion and IMSA GTU champion with 10 starts and 10 wins; past Nissan and Ferrari-Maserati car dealer; 50 years of selling cars and racing with Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Walter Payton and his son, Scott Sharp. Bob wants to help future, new and experienced drivers have fun but stay safe in a lifetime adventure in the craft of driving.