The month of November brings shorter days, colder temperatures and slippery road conditions. All are seasonal hazards for Maine drivers.
According to a 2016 report by the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT), November had the third highest percentage of traffic accidents (9%) between 2006 and 2015. December had the highest percentage at 12 percent.
November also ranked third in traffic fatalities at around 10 percent, behind July (11%) and August (10%).
Shorter Days, Decreased Visibility
One contributing factor that makes November such a dangerous month for drivers is the shorter days. The end of daylight savings time can throw drivers off, and it can take weeks to adjust. Shorter days can also cause visibility problems for drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
This can include:
- Limited visibility at around 250 feet without high beams
- Limited visibility at around 500 feet with high beams
- Less time to react in order to avoid an accident
- Vision challenges for older drivers
Shorter days can also have a profound impact on drivers' circadian rhythm. This is the body's natural clock, which controls when we feel drowsy or alert. The lack of daylight can increase the sleep hormone melatonin, which can put drivers at a greater risk of drowsy driving.
Common Fall Road Hazards
Common hazards to watch out for during the autumn season include:
- Dampness on roads: Rainfall often increases during the fall months, which can result in damp roads. Even when temperatures are above freezing, roads can become slick.
- Fallen leaves: The end of fall foliage season means the roadways in Maine can become covered with leaves. When combined with damp conditions, leaves can be just as slippery as ice.
- Frost and ice: Frost and spots of ice are very common during the early morning hours in Maine. Drivers should be cautious when approaching bridges, underpasses and other areas that lack sunlight.
- Occasional snow: Even before winter officially begins, Maine can get a significant amount of snowfall.
During the remainder of the fall season, Maine drivers are expected to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, drive awake and sober, and be prepared to reduce their speed. When motorists fail to uphold their duty of care, their actions can put other road users in danger of being seriously or fatally injured.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, contact the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein to discuss your options. Our attorneys know the Maine law and have the experience and expertise to handle even the most complex claims. In over 45 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has helped more than 25,000 injured or disabled Mainers get the justice they deserve.