by Tech. Sgt. Chad Duprey
66th Air Base Group Safety Office
10/7/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- It's that time of year again. Thousands of tourists flock to New England to see the fall foliage. With the long weekend coming, many base personnel may consider traveling to the mountains to enjoy the scenery.
There are many things to consider when it comes to fall safety and the increase in traffic isn't the only thing. The 66th Air Base Group Safety Office offers three key things to focus on this fall season: leaves in the road, changing weather conditions and fewer hours of daylight.
When leaves accumulate on the roadway they can be wet, becoming extremely slippery and very similar to icy conditions. The leaves also cover potholes and dips in the road filled with water. This may cause cars to hydroplane and the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The leaves also cover the road markings, making it difficult to determine proper lane placement.
Some things drivers should do include: slowing down on roads covered with leaves, especially around turns; increasing the traveling distance between cars; and keeping windshield wipers free of any leaves.
The weather conditions in New England change often during the fall season. The weather is often damp, wet and foggy. As temperatures drop, frost may develop on the roadways. Drivers should take it easy and be cautious while passing over overpasses and bridges. This is where frost will form more easily.
The long summer days are also gone and it will be dark in the morning heading to work and dark going home at night. The darkness alone presents its own set of dangers. Drivers should watch for people that may be out walking or running in the early morning or early evening. It is also important to keep an eye out for school buses in the morning and afternoon.
Another reminder to all Hanscom personnel: it is now illegal to text and drive in the state of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It is also illegal for anyone under 18 to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle in the state of Massachusetts. The safety office encourages everyone to be safe and drive defensively this fall season. Anyone with questions about fall safety may call the safety office at 781-377-5135.