Driving Tips to Stay Safe as the Seasons Change 

deer crossing road and car sliding on wet leaves

Less daylight, more deer, and wet leaves can lead to hazardous conditions

November is a dangerous month on Pennsylvania roadways. When Pennsylvanians turn their clocks back by one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2022, they will be entering a season when road and driving conditions are changing. 

Less daylight combined with roads covered in wet leaves, morning and evening freezes, along with reduced visibility, can lead to more hazardous driving conditions. November is also the most dangerous month in Pennsylvania for deer-car accidents. Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, often when commuters are on our roads.

“The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (IFPA) wants to help motorists stay safe as the seasons change,” said Christopher Sloan, executive director of the IFPA. “Pennsylvania is beautiful as the leaves changes, but when they cover our roadways, they can lead to slippery and difficult driving conditions.”

Follow these driving tips for fall and early winter safety:

  • Slow down and use extra caution on leaf-covered roadways. Wet leaves cause slippery conditions and can cover traffic lines, making driving particularly difficult. 
  • Maximize your reaction time by increasing the distance between vehicles, especially in heavy weather and at dawn or dusk.
  • Pay attention to bridges, overpasses and shaded areas where icy spots can form.
  • Check your vehicle’s headlights, tail lights and turn signals to ensure they are working properly. 
  • Sun glare can coincide with morning and evening rush hours. According to PennDOT, 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.
  • Use your low beams when driving in fog to improve visibility.
  • Don’t drive with frost on your windshield or back window. 
  • Tractor trailers have blind spots so take extra care in passing. Big rigs take longer to slow down than cars so keep a safe distance and share the roadway.
  • Check that your tires have sufficient tread depth.
  • Do not text and drive, avoid distractions.
  • Never forget to buckle up.

“Taking a little extra time and using caution will help you stay safe as conditions change but, if you are in an accident and need to file a claim, it’s important to know what your automobile insurance covers in terms of property damage and injury,” continued Sloan. “Don’t ever hesitate to give your insurance agent or company a call if you are unsure about what your policy covers. Remember, you are the customer and they will be happy to answer your questions.”

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