Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be Safe On The Roads This Fall

The potential hazards of winter driving always get plenty of attention, but did you know that fall driving can be just as dangerous?  Some of these dangers are caused by the leaves that can look so pretty in the trees.  After they eventually fall down, the leaves can accumulate on the roads, creating a very slick driving surface.  Here are a few tips on how to safely maneuver around this potentially treacherous situation.  

  1. Slow down if you are driving on a road covered with leaves, especially when driving around turns.
  2. Allow yourself plenty of room to stop in an emergency. Keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.
  3. Leaves make it difficult to see potholes and bumps in the road.
  4. A pile of leaves raked to the side of the road is an inviting place to a child. Children enjoy jumping into the leaf piles or burrowing down into them and hiding. Never drive through a leaf pile. Use caution going around turns and where children are playing.
  5. Keep your windshield leaf free to avoid wet leaves getting stuck under the windshield wiper blades.
  6. In order to avoid the possibility of a fire hazard from the exhaust system or catalytic converter, never park your vehicle over a pile of leaves.
In addition to the leaves on the road, autumn can bring other dangers, such as the changing temperatures.  With the often damp and foggy weather, falling temps can cause slick roads, especially on bridges and overpasses.  When approaching these areas, be sure to slow down and brake gently.  Also, be aware of other areas where black ice may form.  

And, of course, watch out for animals, particularly deer, on the road this time of year.  This is their mating season and they are on the run.  Chances are, if you see one deer, he/she isn't alone, as they tend to travel in groups.  If you cannot avoid hitting an animal, brake firmly but steadily; most vehicles now have anti lock brakes which eliminate the need to "pump" the brake pedal.  Do not swerve to avoid an animal in the road, as this tends to lead to more dangerous accidents, such as head-on collisions and rollovers.


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