Many of us breathe a sigh of relief when fall arrives each year. The kids are back in school, it’s football season, the leaves are changing, and the weather is cooler. As nice as it is to have lower temps and apple picking, though, there are road hazards associated with autumn that it’s sometimes easy to forget.
The same leaves that are lovely to look at can prove to be a hazard when they fall on the road. Rain-soaked leaves can create a slick and slippery surface akin to black ice. They can cause a vehicle to lose traction and spin out of control. They can also cover up puddles and potholes that might result in hydroplaning.
Autumn heralds the arrival of shorter days and longer nights. The earlier it starts to get dark, the less visibility there is, particularly at dawn and dusk. Twilight hours make it more difficult to see other vehicles on the road as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
According to PETA, an estimated one out of every 100 drivers will be involved in an animal-versus-vehicle accident in their lifetime, and such collisions are 35 percent more likely in the fall. Drivers should pay keen attention when driving by wooded areas and in places where animal crossings – particularly large animals like deer – are common.
Schoolchildren and buses
Obviously, fall’s arrival means the return of children to school. Many children, particularly younger ones, count on drivers to stop for the extended arm and flashing lights of a school bus or crosswalk, but inattentive drivers often don’t do that. Distracted driving in school zones could easily result in an injury-causing or even fatal accident.