2009-10-08 / Local & State

PennDOT Offers Fall Driving Safety Tips

PennDOT reminds motorists that wet leaves, fog, sun glare and frost are a few driving hazards that they will encounter this fall, but there are steps drivers can take to help make their travel safer.

“While it’s not the traffic volumes that come with summer or the snow and ice of winter, the fall season presents motorists with several driving challenges,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “Motorists can be proactive by paying attention to their surroundings and allowing extra time for their commutes.”

Wet leaves on the roadway can be as slippery as ice. They also can obscure traffic lines and other pavement markings, making driving in unfamiliar areas particularly difficult. Motorists should slow down and use extra caution on leaf-covered roadways.

Fog and sun glare can present other fall hazards for drivers. When driving in fog, motorists should use low beam headlights since the high beam setting creates glare and reduces visibility. Not only will headlights enhance visibility of your vehicle, state law requires headlights be on when wipers are in use.

Sun glare can be most problematic during sunrise and sunset, which coincide with morning and evening rush hours in the fall. The 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, removing clutter from their sun visors and keeping the inside of their vehicle’s windshield clean.

Also, morning frost and icy spots on the road can also cause problems as overnight temperatures drop toward freezing. 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. Morning drivers should also watch carefully for students walking along roadways or waiting for school buses.

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 drivers’ morning and/or evening commutes. 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.

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

Visit www.511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions before heading out.

For more fall driving tips and other highway safety information, visit www.DriveSafePA.org.

Return to top