CINCINNATI, Oh (October 14, 2018) - While many motorists enjoy autumn and the wide variety of changing colors of the landscape, they often don’t think about the impact to their vehicle or the hazard of driving on a leafy roadway.
AAA reminds motorists that wet roads and fallen leaves are a recipe for traffic trouble. Drivers’ reaction time is largely dependent upon their vision. Driving during rainy weather presents a real challenge, particularly if roads are strewn with wet leaves.
“Fall rain is different than summer rains because there are leaves everywhere, greatly reducing traction on many roads,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Drivers must make the required adjustments to speed and spacing necessary for driving safely on wet, leaf-strewn roads.”
Last year in Ohio, there were 92 deaths and nearly 9,000 injuries as a result of crashes during rainy conditions, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
With rain, drivers need to reduce speed significantly. Even a relatively small amount of water on the roadway can significantly reduce traction, increase stopping distances and increase the likelihood of an out-of-control skid with hard braking. Even a brand new tire with all of its tread begins to lose some of its traction area at 35 miles per hour. With poor tread, additional speed, and wet leaves, a vehicle can easily lose traction completely.
Reduced visibility can compound the challenges of fall driving. With rain and mist, and in some cases fog, as well as earlier darkness, visibility can be greatly reduced. This too, should cause drivers to slow down and proceed more cautiously, since their reaction time will be significantly shortened.
Use the following tips to navigate through wet and leafy weather:
- Reduce speed significantly. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and speeds should decrease.
- Increase following distances. Even a relatively small amount of water on the roadway can significantly reduce traction, increase stopping distances and increase the likelihood of an out-of-control skid with hard braking. If you are forced to stop in traffic due to poor visibility, turn on emergency flashers immediately and pull as far off the road as possible.
- Turn on windshield wipers as soon as rain begins to fall. If intermittent wipers are used, be certain they are set to a speed that will clear the windshield before visibility is compromised.
- Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility. In Ohio it is the law – wipers on, lights on.
- Never drive into any flooded area, especially if the water is moving quickly.
As October is Car Care Month, AAA is offering these additional tips for car care maintenance with falling leaves. Leaves carry sap and pollen—both of which have acidic properties, just like bird droppings. The acids in sap and pollen are corrosive to your car’s paint.
What can you do about it?
- Don’t park under trees. Because trees make leaves, and leaves fall off, and leaves do damage to cars.
- Get a cover for your car. This will also protect it from bird droppings, hail, and more. The downside is that if you don’t have a cool or expensive car, the cover will make your neighbors think you’re full of yourself. Remove leaves from your car right away.
- Use your hands to do this. You’ll want to use a broom if there are a lot of leaves, but you’re likely to scratch your car’s paint with the broom, which defeats the purpose.
- Wash away the stains immediately. Use a soft cloth and a liquid car wash solution to wash away sap/pollen residue.
- And when fall ends, get your car washed and waxed.
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.