Fall Driving Hazards

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 3-Nov-2015

Autumn is a great time to go for a ride in the country, but this beautiful season also creates unique driving hazards. The weather, lighting conditions and even other drivers’ behavior [affected by the dimming skies and Daylight Savings Time, which alters circadian rhythms] can all make fall driving surprisingly treacherous. Here are four important hazards and how to navigate them mindfully.

1. Confusing precipitation and temperatures that flirt with 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Autumn thunderstorms tend to come on quickly, and they dump a lot of water on the roads. This water sometimes freezes quickly in the cool fall air, creating black ice and patches of frost, especially on bridges and in shaded areas. Stay alert for weather reports, and consider winterizing your car early enough, so you won't be caught by surprise by an early November snowstorm.

2. Fog, particularly near dusk and dawn.

Fog often rolls in during autumn nights here in the D.C. and Northern Virginia area, and it can take several hours to burn off each morning. To wend through fog effectively, take precautions. Avoid trying to pierce the veil with normal headlights, for example, since the droplets in the fog reflect high beam light, and they can dazzle you while you drive. Take it slowly, time your drives to avoid or at least minimize fog encounters, and be alert for other drivers, who might be confused by fog.

3. Unusual/dangerous lighting conditions.

The sun sets earlier each day during the fall, creating unfamiliar shadows and making other drivers' behavior harder to predict. Be aware of these changes during your normal commute - particularly during the long hours of darkness in the morning and evening rush hours - and adjust your alertness accordingly. Don't drive in the late evening while fatigued.

4. Leaves and debris creating slick, slippery gunk on the road.

Leaves don’t look dangerous to drive over, but a leaf-strewn suburban lane is likely to be slick with trapped water. Leaves naturally have a tendency to slide over each other, so suddenly accelerating or braking on a carpet of them can be difficult to do safely.

Fall driving isn’t the only hazard you face on the road. Too many drivers are easily distracted, making driving riskier for everyone. We crunched the numbers here: Quantifying the Dangers of Distracted Driving.

Our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys would be happy to provide a free and thorough consultation about your recent accident and possible case. Call or email use today to explore your strategic options.

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