Fall in northern Michigan is a beautiful time. The leaves begin turning colors and the air is crisp. Apple cider is available, freshly made from Michigan apples. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy your community.
However, there are also seasonal risks on the road that you should be aware of. Winter is not the only season with special considerations for drivers. Autumn can pose its own unique set of risks. Understanding this can help keep you safe as the seasons turn toward colder weather in Michigan.
Wet, falling leaves are dangerous for drivers
Those beautiful, colorful leaves are gorgeous on the trees. However, they are a slippery mess on the road. Dew from overnight or recent precipitation can make them even more slick and dangerous. Even worse, they may hide dangerous potholes, which are everywhere in Michigan, or debris that could damage your tires. Roads can also become slick due to rainy weather and fog.
Prepare to drive a little more slowly on any road that has a lot of leaves, and leave more stopping distance between yourself and the car in front of you. Give yourself more room to brake while approaching intersections. It may also be a good time to get your tires and brakes inspected. After all, they will need to be in top order for both the fall and winter seasons.
Watch out for children and animals in the road
The cool fall weather lends itself to outdoor play after school gets out. There’s also trick or treating on Halloween to consider (and kids out on “Mischief Night,” the evening before). The potential is definitely there for children to be in traffic more than they would in other seasons. Keep your eyes open for children, and make sure you drive at appropriate speeds in residential areas or near playgrounds and parks.
Animals can also pose an increased risk to you and your vehicle in the fall. Many mammals are preparing for the winter season. You can expect them to be moving around a lot more as they get ready to hunker down for the cold.
There is the additional risk that comes from hunting season. Both turkey season and deer season create the potential for fleeing animals to rush into traffic. Accidents with a turkey may do minimal damage to your car, but deer crashes can be fatal.
The good news is that with a little bit of extra caution, you can likely offset the increased risk to yourself and others on the road this fall. Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions of others. If you find yourself injured in a crash caused by a driver who did not adjust for the season, legal help is on your side.