As the leaves change color and weather becomes cool, many people enjoy time on Pennsylvania roadways. However, this season also creates a variety of hazards for drivers. What should drivers know before getting behind the wheel in fall?
1. Fallen leaves can create a variety of hazards.
While the fall colors may bring color to the landscape, they can also bring greater risk to the roadway. Fallen leaves can be slippery, especially when those leaves are wet as a result of rain or melting frost. Leaves can also hide other hazards, making it difficult for drivers to see and react to these challenges.
2. Earlier sunset increases the likelihood of nighttime driving.
Nighttime driving has a significant impact on visibility, and the shorter days in autumn increase the amount of time that drivers spend on the roadway after dark. While daylight illuminates long distances clearly, headlights only provide visibility of up to 500 feet. Glare from the headlights of oncoming traffic and wet conditions can limit visibility even more.
3. Autumn months see an increase in deer activity.
Because fall is mating season for deer, these months also see a sharp increase in deer strikes on Pennsylvania roadways. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers are more than 3 times as likely to strike an animal in November. The IIHS also reports that Pennsylvania had the third highest November animal strike frequency from 2006 to 2018.
4. As weather cools, fog and frost create new dangers.
As winter approaches, fog and frost may become more common. As a result, roadways may be more slippery early in the morning due to icy conditions, and fog can further limit visibility.
While fall weather can create challenging roadway conditions, remaining aware of these autumnal hazards can help drivers stay safe.