Traveling by road becomes more hazardous during the fall months, and this is especially true in states like New York where the sun sets earlier and storms are common. When researchers from the National Safety Council studied National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash statistics, they discovered that October is the month when road users are most likely to be killed in motor vehicle accidents. However, there are steps that drivers in the Empire State can take to improve their chances of avoiding a fall crash.
Daylight Saving Time
When clocks “fall back” to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time, car accidents and accident fatalities soar. Drivers who are used to driving home in bright sunshine suddenly find themselves commuting as darkness falls, which affects their color recognition, peripheral vision and depth perception. The glare from oncoming headlights makes driving in near darkness even more hazardous. These fall driving dangers can be mitigated by making journeys earlier and reducing speed.
Leaves and animals
The foliage that accumulates on roadways in the fall can block drains, conceal road markings and hide potholes. Wet leaves can also make roads extremely slippery. This is a problem because roads become covered in leaves at the same time that animals like deer enter their mating seasons. Fading light, slippery roads and increased animal activity are among the reasons why the number of car accidents involving deer surges by 350% in November.
Reducing the risks
Earlier sunsets, falling leaves and animal encounters can all make driving in the fall dangerous. To reduce your chances of being involved in a fall accident, you should allow more time to complete your journeys, try to avoid driving as darkness falls, reduce your speed and look out for animals that could walk onto the roadway.