When we consider fall in the Hudson Valley and Tri-State Area, we tend to think of the beautiful, crisp weather and the rich tones of yellow, red, and orange leaves sweeping across the landscape. We think of our favorite fall traditions, like hay rides, leaf peeping, pumpkin picking, and trips to the local apple orchard for fresh cider and couple (or a couple dozen!) golden-brown apple cider donuts.
What we don’t usually think about is the danger the season poses to unwary drivers.
When wet leaves accumulate on the road, they become extremely slippery. Most people don’t realize that driving on wet leaves can be just as dangerous as driving on black ice. In fact, fall is a busier season for car crashes than winter.
Since plants and trees generally take in water through their roots, leaves are specifically designed NOT to allow water to penetrate. Instead, water sits on top of the leaf’s waxy coating, creating a film similar to that found on ice.
Just as with ice, roads covered with wet leaves cause issues with braking or accelerating around corners and speeding up when trying to merge onto busy roads or highways. As the weather and road conditions change with the season, remember to drive on wet leaves the same way you would drive during icy road conditions. That means taking turns slowly, driving smoothly, and allowing yourself ample distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Don’t jerk your wheel, brake suddenly, or accelerate quickly. If you drive too fast, you may experience difficulty stopping in time, causing you to rear-end another car or simply lose control. If you do begin to skid, turning your wheel into the skid can help you regain control of the vehicle.
Leaves can also stick to the road, hiding dangerous potholes and other road defects. The first 15 minutes of a rainstorm are the most dangerous because of the oils that are released back on the road after a dry period. Pairing the oils with recently fallen leaves can lead to a messy conclusion.
Knowing what to look for and using these tips can help you avoid accidents and mishaps on the road this fall, so you can enjoy your cider donuts in peace!
Autumn also marks the beginning of deer mating time. BUCK-le Up During Deer Season