As autumn quickly approaches, motorcyclists in Missouri and throughout the nation must be concerned about rapidly changing weather conditions. The morning might be bright and sunny on the way to work, but the evening commute home could be cold, rainy or even snowing. During the fall months, riders must take special care to avoid dangerous conditions whenever possible.
One often-overlooked factor is the build-up of fallen leaves and leaves blowing across roads. While this might seem the epitome of autumn beauty, leaves on the ground present numerous hazards for motor vehicles, including:
- Leaves can become slippery: Leaves stacked on top of each other across the road can become slippery making it easy for a rider to lose control of the motorcycle. The added friction and loss of traction can cause the bike to slip and slide around corners or fail to stop when the rider applies the brakes.
- Leaves can hide obstacles: Fallen leaves can accumulate on busy roads and obscure dangers. These obstacles could be potholes, fallen branches, large rocks or uneven pavement. Driving through these obstacles thinking it is simply a pile of leaves can lead to a serious accident.
- Leaves can cover slick spots: Whether it is a small section of black ice, or the frost trapped around the leaves themselves, it is not uncommon for fallen leaves to camouflage deadly slippery spots on the road when the weather turns cold.
Fallen leaves might be impossible to avoid in total as the weather turns bad, but riders must be aware of the dangers they could represent. Whether the leaves are hiding obstacles or icy patches on the road, riders must approach them with caution – assuming the worst. Losing control, hitting an obstacle or losing traction on the road can lead to severe collisions often resulting in devastating injuries.