Maryland is blessed with four distinct seasons. Many people enjoy the pristine white beauty of freshly fallen snow or the colorful display of trees whose leaves are getting ready to fall in autumn. However, with the glorious landscapes that fall and winter weather provides comes increased risk to people on the road.
Although you have probably been navigating slippery road conditions for your entire adult life, it can sometimes take a little while to adjust to the driving requirements of new seasons. Considering that Maryland drivers are among the worst in the nation, every little bit of caution could reduce your risk of a collision.
Taking a few moments to mentally review the unique risks of winter and fall roads in Maryland can help keep you and the people who ride in your vehicle safer.
Don’t forget that moisture may increase the risk of glare
The sun sets earlier and seems to be less bright during the autumn and winter. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t affect your vision. Keeping sunglasses in your vehicle or committing to wearing them until after the sun sets during the darker months can help keep you safe from glare and its impact on visibility.
A gloomy day can suddenly experience a break in cloud cover, resulting in scintillating sunlight bouncing off of the ice or wet leaves on the road. Standing water and ice can amplify the brilliance of the sun and reflect it in unpredictable directions, making it possible for a sudden burst of light to temporarily blind you at the wheel.
Slippery conditions demand slower speeds
The single simplest solution to the dangers posed by wet road surfaces, the accumulation of fallen leaves or a buildup of ice and snow is to drive more slowly when the roads are wet or slippery. You don’t always know what the weather will be like during the colder, wetter months of the year. Watching the news or checking the weather online before you go to bed can give you an idea, but the error margin for predicting the weather is well-known.
It is better to err on the side of caution by assuming inclement weather could affect your drive at any time after the beginning of autumn. Waking up 10 to 15 minutes earlier than you do in the summer can ensure that you have adequate time to get where you need to go without driving dangerously fast for current road conditions. As a bonus, you can use those extra moments for a leisurely cup of coffee or even reading a chapter in your favorite book if the roads are clear and dry that day.
Make sure your lights, wipers and tires are ready for the winter
Proper vehicle maintenance can drastically increase your overall safety on the road. Your headlights, turn signals and brights/high beams function both as personal safety devices and methods of communication with other drivers on the road. Ensuring that all of your lights are operational is important, especially during the darker months of the year.
Windshield wipers can also be of utmost importance for your safety during the cold, wet winter and fall months. If your wipers can’t clear your windshield, you may not be able to see clearly what happens around you. Finally, the condition of your tires affects your ability to maneuver and stop your vehicle. While good tires are important at any time of year, they are particularly critical when roads are slippery and wet.