Autumn is here and with the cooler season comes conditions that can make driving hazardous. Fall doesn’t have the snow of winter or the driving rain of spring, but leaves, frost, and the timing of the sunrise and sunset present their own dangers on the road.
Leaves Can Be Pretty and Dangerous
Across Long Island, most of the trees are just now starting to change color. There are some trees that have already started to shed the foliage dropping leaves on the streets and sidewalks across the region. Leaves are a severe hazard for cars and pedestrians. Even a few leaves on the ground can create a slippery condition that can cause a car to slide or a shoe to lose traction. When you drive it is important to be aware of the road conditions. Leaves on a road is a condition which should be treated as seriously as ice and snow. If you do not give yourself enough time to stop, and you hit a patch of leaves, your car will lose traction with the road and lose control. Even losing control of a vehicle for a second can be dangerous.
Losing control of your vehicle can lead to an accident with another car, hitting a street light, hydrant or any other structure, or even a pedestrian. In a case where you hit a small pile of leaves and lose control for even a second, your instinct would be to try to recover. In the process of recovery, if your tires regain traction the overcompensation from the attempted recovery can be disorienting feeling for the driver. It can also be precarious for any pedestrians or other vehicles around you since it is hard to gauge the direction and speed the car is moving.
Practice Safe and Defensive Driving
Just as you would in snow or ice, it is important to leave enough room between you and the car ahead of you to you can give yourself time to stop and give yourself time to react if the car in front of you has an accident. The most common cause of a multi-vehicle pile-up is due to the lack of space between cars and the lack of reaction time if there is a problem. A car that is driving 30 miles an hour is moving 44 feet per second. At highway speed, if you are traveling at 65 miles per hour, you are moving at just over 95 feet per second. At that speed, you drive the length of a football field in under four seconds. Four seconds is not a lot of time to react to an accident that is happening in real-time right in front of you.
Another issue with driving in Fall is the condition of the roads in the early morning. If you are going out after dark, you will notice that it is already getting cold once the sun goes down. People do not generally think of frost in the Fall. However, if the overnight temperature drops enough, your early morning commute may add the possibility of frost. Frost plus leaves plus trying to stop a car can turn into a frightening scenario very quickly.
The Sun can be a big problem during the AM and PM Rush Hours.
Another concern in the Fall is one that has nothing to do with the conditions on the road. In early October in New York, sunrise is just about at 7 AM and sunset is just about 6:30 PM. Both of these times are right in the middle of the morning and afternoon rush hour times. In a place like Long island that runs mostly East/West, sunrise and sunset will effectively blind a driver. Sunglasses and sun visors are little protection against the light of the sun, especially at those times when the sun looks so much larger than it does when it is overhead. Physics For The Win!
Driving always comes with a lot of responsibility. You are not only responsible for yourself and your passengers, but to the drivers and people who are around you.
The legal definition of “negligence” is a failure to act with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under similar circumstances. Accidents happen. It is how you handle yourself and how you act and the decisions you make prior to an accident that determines if you acted with negligence.
Call the Law Offices of Marc Albert
If you were involved in an accident, you need professional and experienced representation. The first thing you need to do is to take care of your medical needs. Then call Marc Albert to schedule a free consultation at 855-252-3788. Marc has offices in Astoria, Queens and in Syosset just west of the Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway and handles cases throughout New York City and Long Island.