The beautiful changing colors of the leaves during fall is a favorite for many. While the trees are breathtaking to look at, that beauty poses a significant driving risk.
When leaves fall on roadways, they tend to stick together in slick wet patches. These wet leaves present a driving hazard similar to black ice. If you hit a patch, your vehicle becomes harder to control, and the risk of sliding or spinning out is increased.
The good news is there are some fall driving safety tips that can help keep you safe when driving on wet leaves. Continue reading to learn what those tips are.
1. Slow Down on Leaf-Covered Roads
If you encounter a leaf-covered road, gradually slow down your vehicle. You should be driving under the speed limit because wet leaves present road hazards similar to black ice. The faster your vehicle is going, the harder it’ll be to control if your tires spin out.
2. Increase Distance Between Cars
Whenever possible, try to keep two or more car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. Wet leaves don’t allow your vehicle the same traction as normal conditions. Leaving extra space in front of you ensures you have enough space to stop without rear-ending the car in front of you.
3. Be Gentle Braking
Slamming on the brakes can cause a loss of control in the best of conditions. The problem is worse on wet leaves. By braking fast or hard, you increase the risk your vehicle will slide or spin out of control.
Press your brakes down slowly, allowing the vehicle to decelerate gradually. Prepare for stop signs or red lights well ahead of time.
4. Make Sure Your Tires Are up to the Task
When it comes to safe driving on wet leaves, your tires are essential. At the end of summer and throughout the fall, check the tread on your tires. If your tires don’t have an adequate amount of tread, plan to replace them.
You’ll also want to check your tire pressure routinely. During the colder months, tire pressure can drop a handful of degrees overnight. For optimal performance on wet road conditions, you want fully pressurized tires.
5. Be Extra Cautious for Children
A pile of leaves at the side of the road looks like an inviting place to play for young children. Be extra cautious for children who may not be paying attention during the fall months. Remember, reduced light and a higher possibility of dense fog can make it more challenging to see, so you need to be on high alert.
6. Check Your Brakes Ahead of Time
Besides tires, you’ll also want to have your brakes checked at the end of summer. A mechanic can tell you if brake pads and rotors need replacement or are in good condition. If brakes aren’t working correctly, it’ll take extra time to stop and increase your skidding risk.
Don’t Let Wet Leaves in Fall Cause Avoidable Accidents
Using the tips above when driving in wet leaves can help reduce the risk of avoidable accidents. These same fall driving tips can be applied to winter driving conditions and icy roadways, too.
Unfortunately, not all accidents are avoidable. If you do find yourself in an accident, make sure to contact us. One of our Spokane accident attorneys is on standby to ensure you don’t navigate a vehicle accident’s legalities on your own.