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Autumn Leaves: A Pretty Sign, But Big Hazard [AUDIO]

The Autumn leaves are pretty on the trees with their changing colors, but they can be a serious road hazard on a wet day for the unwary driver.

Flickr User Joiseyshowaa

Part of the problem is some drivers, especially those without years of experience, may not appreciate the loss of traction from wet leaves.

Acting Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Gary Poedubicky says the wet leaves on a rainy day can also clog under windshield wiper blades and impede the performance of the wipers and reduce visibility.

Some experts believe the driving and traction hazard presented by wet leaves can be as serious as the slippery conditions on an icy or snowy day. And again, because slippery conditions is usually associated with ice and snow and not necessarily wet leaves, the leaves may not get the attention they deserve.

They advise not only slowing down on wet leaves, but also giving yourself a more respectful stopping distance in relation to other vehicles, same as on icy surfaces.

Most of the problems with wet fallen leaves are local. They occur on local streets and roads as opposed to New Jersey’s limited access highways.

Even when those accumulated leaves are dry, they can still be a problem for drivers. Poedubicky advises parking in an area that is free of leaf piles, because they can be a fire hazard. Poedubicky says the hot parts under your vehicle including the exhaust and catalytic converter, can ignite dry leaves and set your car on fire.

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