Status: 23.09.2023, 15:00 p.m.
By: Sebastian Oppenheimer
Early onset of darkness, fog, rain and leaves: When autumn arrives, drivers have to pay more attention to a few things.
In autumn, we have to adapt to the changing environmental conditions. If you know the pitfalls associated with leaves, wetness and darkness for traffic and adapt accordingly, you will be able to get through the coming months more confidently.
Beware of damp leaves: braking distance can be significantly longer
Even though snow and ice are the exception in autumn, there is an increased risk of slipping due to wet leaves during this time. If damp leaves cover the road in large quantities, you should be careful on the road and it is better to slow down. When cornering, the vehicle can slip on wet leaves, and in principle the braking distance can be significantly extended. Reduced speed is also recommended due to hidden dangers such as large potholes hiding under some piles of leaves.
Leaves can clog ventilation openings: fogged windows can be the result
Foliage is also taking its toll on vehicle technology. Falling leaves like to collect at the ventilation shaft of the windshield, from where they can get into the ventilation fan and clog it. If the air conditioning technology does not work properly, this leads to fogging of the windshield and thus to an obstruction of visibility. That is why it is advisable to remove leaves from the vehicle regularly.
Especially in autumn, fog often makes it difficult for drivers to see. (Symbolic image) © Zoonar/Imago
When temperatures drop: Consider changing tires
Depending on the region and weather conditions, the first frost occurs as early as October. Below three degrees, drivers must always be prepared for slippery conditions – especially in depressions, in the forest and on bridges. If the temperatures are permanently in the single-digit range, you should replace the summer tires with winter or all-season tires. Because even at low plus temperatures, they offer a better grip and thus more safety.
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Switch on low beam early
In autumn, it is also particularly important for the vehicle to function properly. The low beam should be switched on early and not only in the dark, because the daytime running lights of modern cars are not sufficient in poor visibility. In the earlier twilight, cyclists and pedestrians are less recognizable and often appear as an unexpected obstacle. It is therefore important to adjust the speed to the weather and time of day accordingly.
Special care must be taken in strong winds on bridges
Autumn brings not only rain and fog, but also a lot of wind and occasional storms. Drivers should then not only be particularly careful on the road, but also avoid parking their vehicle under trees if possible – otherwise falling branches can cause considerable damage. In order to have your vehicle under control in the event of unforeseen gusts, the speed must be adapted to the conditions. Caution is particularly advised on bridges or forest aisles, where there is a threat of strong crosswinds. Only those who have both hands on the steering wheel can react quickly and, if necessary, take countermeasures.
Wildlife crossing is increasing: Increased risk of accidents
In autumn, there is also an increased threat from wild animals. At the latest when the time change is completed, rush hour traffic falls back into the time of sunrise and sunset. This increases the risk of wildlife accidents, because roe deer, deer and wild boars are looking for food at this time or return to their resting areas and cross roads. Therefore, caution should be exercised not only when passing through forests, but also on roads along fields. If a single deer or wild boar appears, you have to expect that other animals from the pack will follow. If a collision is imminent, swerving is often the most dangerous reaction. In case of doubt, a controlled collision is preferable, in which the animal is hit as head-on as possible. On some roads, blue reflectors on delineators are also intended to deter game. (Mario Hommen/SP-X)