The autumn brings with it apple picking, stunning fall foliage, and both spooky and satiating holidays. However, autumn also means wet leaves on the roadways and lots of traffic, as leaf peepers set out on fall excursions.
As with any of the four seasons, there are specific steps drivers can take to ensure their safety on the roads in autumn. Experts offer the following advice:
Beware of Wet Leaves
Rain and fallen leaves can make for a dangerous combination on the road, resulting in a slippery condition that is similar to driving on ice. In addition to having a significant impact of stopping distance, wet leaf- covered roads can obscure curves, ditches and potholes—so proceed with caution.
Allow More than Twice the Stopping Distance
On those wet leafy roads, it’s imperative to understand that stopping will be extremely difficult. In fact, a car moving at 40mph on a dry road will ordinarily take about 60 feet or four car lengths to come to a full stop. Add wet leaves to that road and the same car traveling at 40 mph will require 150 feet—or 10 full car lengths—to come to a full stop.
Get Ready for Glare
In the fall, the sun rises later and sets earlier in the day, so glare can be a greater problem than at other times of the year. Keep sunglasses handy and make sure your visors are clutter-free and ready to be utilized.
Clean, Check, and Use Headlights
In the fall, dusk comes early and you are likely to be driving at that hour more often—so make sure to use your headlights. In addition, get your headlights cleaned and checked for proper alignment. Dirt and misalignment can reduce the distance a driver can detect objects by up to 30%.
Be Extra Alert for Pedestrians
Because the days are shorter, more joggers, cyclists and children may be out and about at dusk—and more difficult to detect with the changing light at that hour—so be extra alert for their presence.
Check Your Tires
Tires expand and contract with changes in the weather, so stay on top of your tire pressure and make sure they have ample tread.
Maintain Windshield Wipers
It is also imperative to ensure that your wipers are in good condition for autumn rain showers. Experts suggest replacing them every six months.
The Weather Channel has a video about ways to stay safe on the roads this fall.