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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sept. 27, 2007

Wet Leaves, Sun Glare, Frost Create Tricky Travel for Motorists
HARRISBURG – While fall in Pennsylvania offers motorists breath-taking views, it also presents its share of driving challenges. Today, PennDOT reminded motorists to drive with extra caution and remember there can be wet leaves on the road, increased sun glare and frosty mornings.
“Clearly, one of the biggest challenges drivers face in the fall is wet leaves, which can be as slippery as ice,” PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler P.E. said. “Motorists need to be aware of their surroundings and, if wet leaves are present, they should increase their following distances and allow extra room for stopping.”
In addition to creating slippery conditions, wet leaves can also cover traffic lines and other pavement markings, so motorists need to drive slowly and use extra caution, particularly on narrow or winding roads.
Fall is also associated with intense sun glare during morning and afternoon rush hours. The glare can reduce visibility to near zero. In such instances, motorists should watch for sudden, slow-moving traffic and be prepared to reduce speed quickly. It’s important for motorists to keep their windshields clean, both inside and out to help reduce glare. Motorists should also be certain that their vehicle’s sun visor is free of clutter and that a pair of good sunglasses is within easy reach.
Many Pennsylvanians will soon wake up to the season’s first frost, which can lead to slippery conditions, especially on bridges and overpasses where moisture freezes more quickly than on roads. Motorists also need to be alert to shaded areas, where icy spots on the pavement can develop. In addition to driving with extra care, make sure your vehicle’s windows are clear of frost before venturing out onto the road.
PennDOT reminds motorists that under Pennsylvania law, if snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of the vehicle from which the snow or ice came is subject to a fine of $200 to $1,000 for each offense. Pennsylvania law also states that no person shall drive a vehicle with ice or snow on the front or rear windshield or side windows that obstruct or impair the driver’s view of the road.
PennDOT also offers motorists these additional tips for fall driving.
  • When driving in severe weather or in areas with wet leaves, increase your following distance. If you are being tailgated, let the other driver pass.
  • With twilight approaching earlier in the evenings, make sure that your vehicles’ headlights, tail lights and turn signals are all working properly. Turn your headlights on as soon as sunlight begins to fade.
  • Be sure that your vehicle’s heating system and wipers are functioning properly and remember, under Pennsylvania law, if your wipers are on, your headlights must be on.
  • Be sure that your tires have sufficient tread depth to deal with the potential for early-season snow.
  • Drivers should steer clear any time an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing and where road crews or emergency personnel have lighted flares or posted signs. Pennsylvania law says motorists must move to a lane not adjacent to the scene of an emergency response, police stop or a tow truck picking up an abandoned vehicle. If drivers cannot move over because of traffic or other conditions, they must reduce their speed.
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

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