Beware the Hidden Dangers Lurking Under Fallen Leaves

Posted in Car Accident on November 30, 2021

Autumn is here, and that means leaves are rapidly changing colors throughout Middle Tennessee and ending up on lawns, sidewalks, and roads in Nashville and other cities. For many people, falling leaves are nothing more than a sign that cold weather and winter are approaching—and a reminder that their lawns need to be raked.

However, fallen leaves can be more than just an annoyance or a chore. They can also represent a significant hazard for yourself and your loved ones. Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re driving near leaf piles.

Fallen Leaves Can Hide Road Debris and Potholes

When you drive, you aren’t just scanning the road for other vehicles. You’re also looking out for potential hazards that you might need to avoid. These hazards can include fallen tree limbs, vehicle debris, potholes, loose gravel, slick pavement, and patches of ice and snow.

When leaves pile up on a road, they can hide potential dangers lurking underneath. And while most leaf piles are just that—piles of leaves—some represent “traps” that can result in damage to your vehicle or you losing control. It’s important to drive carefully when you approach a leaf pile on the road, reduce your speed, and be prepared for the unexpected.

Children Can Hide in Leaf Piles

What child can resist the allure of diving into a freshly raked pile of leaves? It’s a childhood rite of passage to “swim” through a sea of red, orange, and yellow leaves in the fall. But hanging out in leaf piles can be very dangerous for children and adults alike.

There have been many cases of children being injured and even killed by vehicles while playing in leaf piles. A significant risk factor is the fact that many leaf piles are raked near the road so that they can be picked up by a collection service. When children play that close to the road—especially when they’re only partially visible—drivers may swerve due to distraction and strike them with their vehicles.

Leaf Piles Can Be Slick on Their Own

Sometimes, leaf piles themselves can cause serious accidents, especially for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and people driving vehicles with worn tires. When leaves are wet, they can act like patches of ice and reduce traction to near zero. If you’ve ever slipped and fallen after stepping on wet leaves, then you know how slick they can be.

The slickness of leaf piles in roads can be heightened when mud and oil are also present or when they’re located on sharp turns that already put stress on tires. Bicyclists and motorcyclists can easily lose control when they hit slick leaf piles, and pedestrians should also take extra care when walking in fall and winter to not step on them whenever possible.

Leaves Can Distract You or Block Your View of the Road

In some cases, driving through a pile of leaves can send them flying into the air. And when they’re wet or your windshield has accumulated moisture due to rain or drizzle, the leaves may stick to it.

While you may think a few leaves won’t put you at risk, they can be distracting. All it takes is a single moment of distraction to miss a turn in the road or drift into another lane. And when enough leaves end up on your windshield, you may have difficulty seeing where you’re going. In some cases, they can even clog your wipers, making it impossible to remove them without stopping and doing so manually.

Leaves Can Hide Road Markers and Lines

When a road is completely covered with fallen leaves, it can be difficult to see where the center line is, where to stop when approaching a stop sign or traffic light, or even how and where the road curves. This can make you feel like you’re driving blindly, especially if it’s an unfamiliar road.

In some cases, you may even be unable to see where the road ends and the grass or ditch begins. That level of visual confusion has caused people to drive into ditches, which can result in them becoming stuck or even their vehicles rolling over.

Autumn Auto Accident? We’re Here to Help You Get Compensation.

Autumn can be a dangerous time to drive. Cold temperatures and hazards like fallen leaves and ice can come seemingly out of nowhere—especially when you’re used to a full spring and summer of warm weather and clear roads. And even if you’re committed to driving safely, other drivers may not be, putting you and your loved ones in danger.

If you’re injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver this fall, the Nashville auto accident lawyers at Matt Hardin Law are here to help. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and to tell us what happened. We know what it takes to get innocent victims full compensation for their accident expenses, and we’ll work hard to help you, too.