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What Are the Dangers of Driving on Wet Leaves?

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Injured Victims of Negligence

Many people look forward to the brilliant autumn show of leaves as they change from green to every shade of yellow, orange, and red. They even take a drive specifically to tour the changing leaves. Eventually, the trees shed their leaves, and the source of so much pleasure becomes a driving hazard as leaves cover roadways and sidewalks. As this change happens, drivers must be aware of the dangers of driving on wet leaves.

Loss of Traction

Wet leaves are slick and slippery and provide no traction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that wet leaves can be just as slippery as ice due to their waxy coating. Drivers traveling too fast may be unable to brake quickly if the road is covered with wet leaves. As they apply the brakes, the vehicle may just slide until it reaches bare pavement that provides traction. Leaves on the roadway that appear dry may be hiding leaves that fell previously and are saturated with rainwater. Drivers should be aware that leaves retain water for hours, so even if it is not raining, it cannot be assumed that leaves on the ground are dry and pose no risk.

Obscured Vision

A gust of wind can cause wet leaves to rain down and cover moving vehicles. Wet leaves are sticky and can cling to windows and windshield wipers. Without clear sight lines, drivers may be unable to avoid colliding with another vehicle, pedestrians, or bicyclists.

Hidden Road Markings

Wet leaves can cover road markings, making it challenging to identify travel lanes, especially at night and on unfamiliar roads. Leaves can also obscure traffic indications for turning and crosswalks.

Hidden Road Hazards

Wet leaves can obscure road hazards like potholes, fallen sticks and branches, bumps, and sharp objects. Drivers risk damaging their tires or vehicles when driving through wet leaves, hiding road hazards.

How Can I Avoid an Accident When Driving on Wet Leaves?

You can help avoid a car accident by following these tips:

  • Clear your car of wet leaves before you get behind the wheel.
  • Keep your tires in good condition and properly inflated. Having good treads is crucial when dealing with wet conditions and wet leaves.
  • If you encounter a roadway covered with leaves, slow down, and never assume that leaves that look dry are truly dry; there are likely wet leaves hidden underneath.
  • Leave plenty of following distance to the vehicle in front of you.
  • Brake gently and allow ample time and distance to slow your vehicle. Never slam on the brakes.
  • Use caution when making turns. Do not accelerate around corners.
  • Always keep two hands on the wheel to maintain control, and be prepared for emergencies.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Injured Victims of Negligence

Driving without regard for road conditions like wet leaves is negligent behavior that can cause an accident. If you have been injured in an accident, speak with our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.