Research: Fall is the most dangerous season for drivers

Sep 18, 2023, 6:51 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm

dangerous drive...

Golden leaves fall on a covered BMW automobile indicating that it is autumn in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Fall equinox starts on Saturday at 11:50 a.m. for those who will be in the state of Washington. It will bring shorter days and longer nights, which means the roadways will be more dangerous, according to CARFAX research.

“Statistics tell us that drivers are twice as likely to get in an accident in the dark as they are in daylight,” CARFAX Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen told KIRO Newsradio. “Particularly when we get to the fallback weekend, and you go from driving home in twilight or dusk, and then all of a sudden you’re in pitch black — it’s a whole new world.”

One key reason is drivers are disoriented by the sudden change.

Olsen also pointed out that it’s deer mating season and that means more of them will be around roadways drivers use frequently.

“Secondly, in a lot of places in the country, it’s deer mating season and more deer are near the roadway,” Olsen added. “Add that to the time change, and now you’ve got deer jumping in front of you in the dark. And so that’s an issue. And then finally, there are a lot of storms in the fall and that can coat the roadways with wet leaves. They are as slippery as ice. It takes a car normally, on a dry road, about 80 feet to stop from a highway speed. If you hit wet leaves, it can take you up to 200 feet to stop. So all these factors combined make fall kind of a dangerous time of the year.”

More on dangerous driving: Deer-hitting season is in full effect throughout Washington

CARFAX, which bills itself a company that helps people “confidently shop, buy, service and sell used cars with innovative solutions,” listed the following tips to help drivers stay safe:

  • Check tire pressure monthly: It’s getting cooler in the morning and that can cause tires to lose air. Drivers should make sure all tires have the same pressure.
  • Winter tires: Cold weather can harden standard tires. Drivers should make sure the tires on their vehicles can handle the environment they live in — especially if there is a plan on traveling to the Cascades this winter.
  • Check the battery: It’s possible cold weather can lower a battery’s power. If drivers sense a car’s battery is weak, they should replace it.
  • Check wiper and fluid levels: Rainy season is coming and the last thing drivers should want is a dirty windshield. Drivers should carry an extra bottle of fluid in their vehicle.
  • Check wiper blades: If the rubber is cracked and it’s scraping your windshield, it’s time to get new ones. CARFAX advises drivers to wipe their blades with Windex.
  • Pack a winter survival kit: KIRO Newsradio has been saying this for years. Pack a car charger, blankets, water, snacks, tools and first-aid supplies. Hide it in the trunk.

 We’re open books on the open road: Car brands are awful at privacy, security

Follow Micki Gamez on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

Local News

Image: A Seattle Police vehicle...

Frank Sumrall

Report: Seattle Police ended contract with AI service after Auderer’s comments

SPD canceled its contract with Truleo less than a month after Officer Daniel Auderer's comments about Jaahnavi Kandula's death were captured, a report says.

1 hour ago

Washington wildfires...

Ted Buehner

Maui and Spokane: 2 public warning systems and the need for preparedness

The tragic wind-whipped Maui wildfire last month took many lives. How does the public warning system here shape up in comparison?

3 hours ago

spd auderer...

Frank Sumrall

Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer reassigned

Daniel Auderer, the officer who made inappropriate comments over the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, has been reassigned to a non-operational position.

5 hours ago

Muskox calf...

Bill Kaczaraba

Meet Willow: Tacoma zoo’s new muskox calf is big enough to wander

Earlier this month, Charlotte the muskox gave birth to a female calf at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. The calf, named Willow, is healthy.

6 hours ago

pierce county humane society...

Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Pierce County Humane Society asking for help after 13 puppies rescued in 48 hours

The Tacoma and Pierce County Humane Society is asking for help after it received 13 puppies in 48 hours, all abandoned.

7 hours ago

Artificial Intelligence AI...

Bill Kaczaraba

UW researcher examines AI’s impact on teen learning

One University of Washington researcher says she believes, if used correctly, Artificial Intelligence can help teen students learn.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Research: Fall is the most dangerous season for drivers