Autumn is an especially beautiful time here in Oregon. As leaves turn shades of red and gold and fall in soft piles on roads, we forget that after the first rain those same leaves will turn into a slippery sheet that can be as hazardous as ice to drive on.
A layer of wet leaves can make braking, steering, and stopping tricky, particularly at intersections and at downhill stop signs. Accelerating on leaf-strewn interstate entrance ramps and other areas where hard accelerations are necessary can result in loss of control, causing a car to fishtail.
Heaps of dry leaves can cover potholes, curbs, and street markings, and present a fire hazard if they contact a hot muffler or tailpipe.
Drive on leaves as you would on any slippery surface remembering to:
- Reduce speed, especially on roads that curve or have sharp turns.
- Avoid areas where leaves have accumulated, such as at curbs.
- Leave enough room (at least one car length) between you and the car in front of you.
Remember to replace worn tires, keeping them properly inflated for best traction, and have brakes checked.