Along with apple picking and pumpkin pie, fall is a season that brings a host of road hazards that can disrupt your commute and travel. Whether you walk to work, use public transportation, or drive, messy commutes are never fun. Here are five road hazards and corresponding precautions to take this fall when heading out the door:
The Hazard: There is no doubt that fall foliage is a pretty sight. It’s when the leaves begin to fall that issues arise. Collecting and removing leaves is often at the bottom of people’s to-do list regardless of if they have to rack a whole yard or the sidewalk in front of their apartment. Wind patterns can also cause large piles to accumulate in the streets. When fallen leaves become damp, they prove to be a slick surface on which cars and people alike lose traction.
The Precaution: Street sweeping is the most efficient solution to protecting local roads from the hazards of fallen leaves. Consistent sweeping throughout the fall will prevent large piles of leaves from accumulating and causing slick road conditions.
2. Back-to-school traffic
The Hazard: As of early September, students are back to school. As school buses and parents driving their kids to and from school hit the roads, new delays complicate morning and afternoon commutes. If you live in a city or walkable area, another delay you may experience is making frequent stops for pedestrian crossings for those walking to school.
The Precaution: Take it slow when driving on local roads as younger children may be less cautious when crossing the street. Drive with a few car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you to allow enough reaction time if it stops short. In the mornings, start your commute a little earlier to accommodate heavier road traffic.
3. Temperamental weather
The Hazard: Fall is smack-dab in the middle of hurricane season, so rainstorms and intense winds are commonly contribute to messy roadways. As warm weather dissipates, fall nights tend to see dramatic temperature drops leaving car windshields frosted over in the morning and icy spots on the roads. Additionally, the drop in temperature can cause dense fog to form, greatly obstructing driver visibility.
The Precaution: Keep a close eye on the weather forecast each week. Allow your windshield to fully defrost before driving and use your low beams on a foggy day. A common mistake drivers make is using high beams when it is foggy, but they actually increase glare, thus reducing visibility further.
4. Animal crossings
The Hazard: Fall is mating season for deer. It is common to see an increase in deer activity along roadways during this time of year, including crossings.
The Precaution: Be aware of movement from animals on the sides of the road, especially those with road signs indicating that the area sees high crossing rates on a regular basis. Deer eyes reflect light, so be sure to use your headlights as soon as it starts getting dark outside.
5. Sun glare
The Hazard: Sun glare is worst during the fall, based on the time of day of sunrise and sunset corresponding with peoples’ commutes. Sun glare occurs when the sun is low on the horizon and its angle causes a blinding glare off your windshield. It can inhibit your eyesight at that moment and for several minutes afterward. It’s very dangerous for reacting to traffic patterns and pedestrians.
The Precaution: Keep a pair of sunglasses in your center console to always have ready. When your vision is impaired by sun glare it is important to slow down and allow for increased distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.