Autumn Driving Hazards In Spokane WA Serious, Attorney Explains
The month of November can be dangerous for Spokane-area drivers, especially those who aren’t prepared for fall’s changes. During this time of year, drivers are expected to adjust to the shorter days and inclement weather patterns.
Shorter days, limited vision, & increased drowsiness
One drastic change brought about by the autumn season is the end of daylight savings time. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), shorter days means more time spent driving with limited visibility. On average, drivers can only see up to 250 feet without high-beams. That distance doubles with the use of high-beams. Age can also be a factor in limited visibility, as drivers around the age of 50 may require twice as much light as someone around age 30.
The glaring headlights of other vehicles can obstruct drivers’ visibility. Environmental conditions such as rain and fog can also be a factor in limited visibility.
Drivers’ circadian rhythms, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, can be affected by the longer nights. The lack of daylight can induce the production of melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, which can put drivers at risk of falling asleep while driving.
Fall road conditions
Esurance identifies four key factors that can affect road conditions during the autumn season. These include:
- Rain and wet, damp roads: The temperature may remain above freezing this time of year, but wet roads can be slippery to drive on.
- Fallen leaves: Some roads may become covered with dead leaves. When coupled with damp conditions, this can create slick roads that are difficult to drive on.
- Frost and icy spots: The temperature often falls below freezing during the early morning hours. This can result in frost and icy spots, especially on bridges, underpasses, and shaded areas.
- Occasional snow or sleet: Winter hasn’t officially arrived yet, but wintery weather can and often does occur early in Spokane and Eastern Washington. Drivers should be prepared to slow down and plan ahead.
More startling statistics
According to a 2015 annual collision summary (the latest one to be released) by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), out of 117,053 statewide traffic accidents:
- 29,432 of them happened on wet road surfaces, resulting in 107 fatalities and 323 serious injuries
- 2,413 happened on icy roads, resulting in nine fatalities and 31 serious injuries
- Another 412 accidents happen on standing water, resulting in two fatalities and three serious injuries
- 22,909 happened in the dark with street lights on, resulting in 94 fatalities and 415 serious injuries
- 9,428 happened in the dark without street lights, resulting in 116 fatalities and 234 serious injuries
Should you be injured in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s important to speak to an experienced Spokane auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Richard E. Lewis, PS today for a free case evaluation.