Featured: The Best Driving Happens in Autumn

The Best Driving Happens in Autumn

By Bryan Joslin
October 15, 2013

Of the year’s four seasons, autumn is the one that inspires me the most as a driver––particularly early fall. This always-too-short transitional period is a special time, when the coolness of the air is in perfect proportion to the warmth of the sun that brings the allure of the open road into greater focus.

You might assume that for someone who lives in the snowbelt (Illinois, to be specific), summer would be my favorite. Or perhaps spring, which feels a lot like fall but represents the end of winter instead of its beginning. But you’d be wrong.

Summer, like winter, is a season of extremes, and an otherwise perfect drive is routinely spoiled by intense heat or worse, humidity. For all the joys that spring brings with it, the roadside scenery too often resembles winter, with bare branches still defining the trees. For me, fall is the best season for driving.

Fall is the best because you still get to wear your sunglasses, but you get to put away the sunscreen. You can drive with the windows down and the seat heaters up. It’s the best because no matter what you drive, it probably won’t overheat and it doesn’t even matter if you have a functioning heater.

Fall is at the height of harvest season , and that means food! Which is the perfect excuse for a roadside picnic or trip to that restaurant across town you’ve been dying to experience.

Fall is the best because it’s the one season that grants you permission to dress up just to drive. Grab your favorite tweed jacket and driving cap, perhaps throw on a scarf and a pair of driving gloves. The amber lighting is as golden as the leaves on the trees, and everything looks delightful.

It’s time to live outside a little, and drive a lot, because fall never lasts long enough.

Photography by Bryan Joslin for Petrolicious

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6 years ago

Top down, clear cobalt blue sky, crisp autumn air, intense bright sun, explosion of reds, yellows, and oranges. Ah, yesterday’s driving through the curves of the Chagrin Valley, Cuyahoga Valley, and Yellow Creek, with my wife along side. Heaven in Ohio.

shan Raj
shan Raj(@shanr)
6 years ago

i can feel the experience of driving in fall,nice one thanks for giving wonderful read to us.

Trent Weable
Trent Weable(@e30bimmer)
8 years ago

Autumn driving in Chicagoland is bliss. It’s a brisk, yet sunny Monday afternoon and I’m gonna take my ’89 325is out for some exercise before traffic gets congested. Condensed cool air=more hp indeed!

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo(@enzobindo)
8 years ago

Great story and so true. Tomorrow might be the last of the warm and sunny Saturdays in northern NJ (the weather guy says the cold front arrives next week) so I think I’ll take my bride of 35 years out to lunch in our Alfa Spider. Cool crisp air on a sunny day with the top down and my wife beside me is good for the soul.

Paul Steel
Paul Steel(@steely)
8 years ago

It’s the same here in the UK, a cold bright sunny Autumn day is the best for getting the classic out on the road, unless there’s a torrential downpour forecast, which is all to often the case.

Joseph Fitzhugh
Joseph Fitzhugh(@fitz)
8 years ago

I was just thinking this this morning when I got off work. Was on the highway before traffic rush and was ripping down a state highway as the sun came up. Chill night air, V8 growling, sky lighting up with color and the crisp smells that signal the turning of the season. Always have enjoyed Fall/Winter driving.

Then again, Texas Winters are a little more subtle than most of the country.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago

Also high density air horsepower!!!

Jake Barufkin
Jake Barufkin(@fb_1313596062)
8 years ago

Autumn in PA is unreal for driving. Nothing beats the weekend drive to nowhere.

James Wyanski
James Wyanski(@jwyanski)
8 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. There are special moments throughout the year but, in my opinion, you can’t beat fall for consistently providing good reasons to get in your car and drive.

James Wyanski
James Wyanski(@jwyanski)
8 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. There are special moments throughout the year but, in my opinion, you can’t beat fall for consistently providing good reasons to get in your car and drive.

Future Doc
Future Doc(@futuredoc)
8 years ago

I prefer spring and summer in the mountains (NC) is not bad either so it depends. However, the “best” days are those in the dead of winter when them temperature climb just enough into the “warm-ish” range so that is the perfect break for drive. Fall is good, but fall in the mountains also brings out the “leafers”.

Karol Rosochowicz
Karol Rosochowicz(@karolroso)
8 years ago

Very nicely written, and very much so inspiring to go for a drive. Unfortunately living in Florida fall driving is not much different then in the summer. Today its still 90 degrees outside 🙁 And of course, forget about any foliage change. Another reason to move out of this oven.