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
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
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.
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.