It’s that time of year again, when roadway hazards in New England return with the change of seasons.
With the end of daylight savings time, drivers must adjust to shorter days and longer periods of nighttime driving. Slippery road conditions and colder temperatures are also seasonal hazards faced by Fairfield County drivers.
According to the most recent statistics from Statista, 2,998 people lost their lives on U.S. roadways during the month of November in 2016.
Shorter days, limited visibility, tired driving
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), average visibility is 250 feet without the use of high beams. This increases to 500 feet with high beams. However, if left on, high beams can pose visibility problems for other drivers and increase the risk of a crash.
Another common risk posed by increased nighttime is drowsy driving. As the days get shorter, the lack of sunlight can affect drivers’ circadian rhythm – which is the body’s natural clock of sleepiness and wakefulness. A hormone called melatonin, which induces drowsiness, increases during the nighttime hours. This can increase the likelihood of accidents caused by drowsy driving.
Slick road conditions
During the month of November, roadways can become slippery, Esurance notes. This is often attributed to:
- Dampness on roads: The fall months often see an increase in rainfall. This can cause dampness and slick road conditions, even when temperatures are above freezing.
- Fallen leaves: When wet, fallen leaves can be nearly as slippery as ice. Drivers should take caution, especially when turning or approach curves in the road.
- Frost and icy conditions: Temperatures often drop below freezing overnight. Frost and icy spots can make for slippery road conditions, especially on bridges, underpasses, and shaded areas.
- Occasional snow: As we have already seen this year, November can bring occasional snowfall. This can be especially hazardous when drivers aren’t prepared for it.
Winter may not be here yet. But no matter what time of year it may be, Fairfield County drivers are obligated to keep their attention on the road and reduce their speed when needed.
Seasonal conditions are no excuse for poor driving habits. When drivers fail to uphold their duty of care on Fairfield County roadways, they can be held accountable for their negligence.