The late fall or early winter season brings an increase in seasonal dangers that you should be aware of. Road and driving conditions change with the onset of time changes and late fall and early winter weather changes. Read more
Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the fall. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. With the days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to and from work in darkness.
Common fall driving hazards
Back to school traffic
Fall means back to school traffic for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.
Rain can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that hasn’t had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.
Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the vehicle in front of you so you’ll have adequate time to stop if required.
During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.
Fall is a bad time for sun glare on the roads. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the vehicle in front of you.
Now is the time for field crop harvest, and more motorists will be encountering farm equipment on rural roads, increasing the potential for accidents.
Harvest season generally brings a time when there is an increase in collisions between farm equipment and other vehicles.
Keep in mind the following safety tips for motorists as you share the road with farm equipment:
- Farm machinery has a legal right to use public roads just as other motor vehicles.
- Farm machinery can unexpectedly turn onto a public road from a field or driveway.
- Farm machinery operators may not be able to see you because the large equipment or a load can block part of their rear view.
- Slow-moving farm machinery traveling less than 25 miles per hour should display a slow moving vehicle emblem on the back of the equipment.
- Extra-wide farm machinery may take up more than one lane to avoid hitting obstacles such as mailboxes and road signs.
Before passing farm machinery:
- Look for left turn lights or hand signals. If the machinery slows and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator is likely preparing to make a wide left turn.
- Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass.
Rural road rage can be negated if everyone takes the responsibility to have extra patience, careful driving habits, and use high-visibility markings and lighting.
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