The months of October and November are arguably the most beautiful months of the year, especially in the Northeast. However, they can also be the most deceptively hazardous time on the road for drivers. While the winter months may have a worse reputation for dangerous road conditions, the seasonal threats of late autumn weather can rival that of wintry weather.
- Deer and other animals on the roads
Autumn is the peek period for deer-vehicle collisions. After three years of decline, crashes involving deer increased in Pennsylvania and nationally last year. Mating and hunting seasons, and the impending end of daylight-saving time, create the “perfect storm” for drivers. The deer’s annual breeding season typically peaks in November, spilling over into October and December as well. Experts say drivers need to be especially aware around dawn and in the late afternoon and early evening when deer are more active, less cautious, and movement is at its highest.
Almost two-thirds of annual deer-vehicle collisions occur in the fall, with the majority of accidents occurring close to dawn or dusk. In the United States more than a million and a half crashes occur annually involving deer. These accidents cause over $1 billion in damage, as well as numerous injuries and deaths.
The nation saw a 7.7 percent increase in deer vs. vehicle collisions for the year. In Pennsylvania, crashes increased by 9 percent.
- Leaves and other road debris
Autumn brings beautiful landscapes marked by the changes in leaf colors. However, these leaves will soon start to fall and serve as real hazards to drivers.
Leaves can also cover parts of the yellow and white pavement markings on the road, making it difficult to determine shoulder and lane widths. Additionally, wet leaves can get clogged under your wiper blades, impeding wiper performance and visibility.
Slippery road conditions caused by falling leaves, darker evenings, and the windy conditions and heavy rains often associated with autumn traditionally send accident rates up in October. Rain also makes roads slick, and the late fall showers can freeze rather quickly. Early snow is not uncommon as well and can throw drivers into an immediate tizzy. Drivers quickly forget the basic laws of physics and common sense when the conditions change quickly, sending accident rates higher.
- Daylight Savings Time
Most states observe Daylight Savings Time, with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii. For drivers, that means that there will likely be a change in visibility during your commute to or from work. Shorter days mean less light. In the northeast portion of the USA, if you return home after 5 pm, you’ll be driving home in darkness with limited visibility. This can make it harder to spot pedestrians, cyclists and children – especially in the late afternoon.
As the autumn glare can be blinding, it is wise to keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to shield your vision. Don’t hesitate to pull over if the sun’s glare becomes distracting.
- Tire Pressure
The autumn season typically brings about sudden swings in temperature. These dramatic changes can cause havoc on your tire pressure, with warmer temperatures increasing the overall pressure, and lower temperatures decreasing it. These changes in pressure can impact the way your car handles on the road, particularly with respect to the way your tires grip during wet road conditions. For that reason, it’s best to check your tire pressure at least every few days to ensure that your car handles the way it should.
October delivers some of the most deceivingly challenging driving conditions of the year.
In the event you do experience a collision, Suburban Auto Works can help. We are a Bucks County I-Car Gold certified collision repair facility. Our technicians receive training each year in areas of the collision repair industry. Call us at: 215-345-5211.