2008-10-09 / Local & State

PennDOT Reminds Drivers Of Fall Hazards

PennDOT reminds motorists that the change in season warrants cautious driving. As fair weather fades, road hazards such as wet leaves, frost, and glare from sunlight during morning and evening rush hours can make driving more hazardous.

"As we transition into fall, nature presents drivers with some unique seasonal challenges," said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. "Motorists need to slow down and pay closer attention to their surroundings. Increasing following distances and allowing extra room for stopping helps to decrease your chances of being involved in a crash."

Some fall hazards are predictable, such as the times for sunrise and sunset more closely align with morning and evening rush hours. Intense glare from the sun on the horizon can blind a driver, causing an unexpected traffic slowdown. Drivers can prepare for the glare by keeping a set of sunglasses handy and removing clutter from their sun visors.

A less predictable but still manageable hazard is leaves on the roadway. Leaves make driving more dangerous by obscuring traffic lines and other pavement markings. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice on the roadway. Motorists should slow down and use extra caution on leafcovered roadways.

As overnight temperatures dip toward freezing, morning frost and icy spots on the road can also be a hazard. Motorists should pay particular attention to bridges, overpasses and shaded areas on roadways where icy spots can form on the pavement. In addition to exercising caution while driving, motorists should clear their vehicles' windows of frost before travel.

PennDOT offers the following fall driving tips:

Increase your following distance in severe weather, at dusk and dawn and when in an area with wet leaves. If you are being tailgated, let the other driver pass.

Check your vehicle's headlights, taillights and turn signals to ensure they are working properly since darkness will be a part of many driver's morning and/or evening commutes. If your vehicle is not equipped with a sensor, make sure you turn on your headlights as the sunlight fades.

Have your vehicle's heating and wiper systems checked to ensure they are working properly. As a reminder, under Pennsylvania law, when your wipers are on, your headlights must also be on.

Be sure you have tires with sufficient tread depth in case of an early season snow.

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