TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO / WAWV) – Fall is officially here, and it is a time of year when we see plenty of activity on local roadways.
“There is a lot going on in October,” says Sgt. Justin Sears, Public Information Officer with the Terre Haute Police Department. “You also have Harvest. You have farm implements and equipment coming in and out of the fields at all times. They don’t move the fastest. Sometimes they’re going to block the roads or delay you a little bit. So, we appreciate you being patient.”
The Indiana Department of Agriculture has the following tips for drivers near farm equipment:
- Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.
- Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.
- Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.
- Do not try to pass slow-moving farm equipment on the left without ensuring that the farmer driving is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over to allow a pass when the farmer is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
- Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
- Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.
OH DEER! EXPERTS SAY ‘DON’T SWERVE’
Police are also warning drivers to be cautious of deer and other wildlife. Our area typically sees an increase in wildlife on the move during the fall months.
The Indiana State Police Putnamville Post has tips for drivers when it comes to wildlife, especially deer.
- Be cautious while driving during dusk or dawn hours
Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, but can appear at any time, especially during the mating season, which is in full swing from October through December. Please remember though that deer can appear at any time. Ensure that you and your passengers are wearing seat belts at all times, in case you need to make a sudden stop.
- Pay attention to deer crossing signs
Be alert and observe your surroundings for any signs of deer while on the road. Deer are abundant in forested areas, so it’s important to drive cautiously even if you’re no longer in a deer-crossing zone.
- Stay alert if you spot a deer
Deer tend to travel in packs so if you see one deer, slow down and proceed with caution, be prepared for more to follow. If you see a deer, slow down, tap your brakes to warn others, or flash your lights and sound your horn to warn other motorists. It will give everyone an opportunity to slow down.
- Take precautions when driving at night
If there is no oncoming traffic, turn on your bright lights: You’ll not only be able to see clearer, but you’ll have a greater chance of spotting a deer from a distance and allow you to react accordingly.
- Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer
Do not swerve to avoid a deer collision. By swerving you put yourself at risk for a worse collision with another motorist or running off the roadway. Brake firmly and stay in your lane.
- Report the deer-vehicle collision
If you happen to get involved in an accident, contact local authorities to report it so you can get an accident report for your insurance company.
Remember deer are unpredictable and could dart into traffic at any time, so be alert at all times!
SLICK STREETS: HOW LEAVES IMPACT YOUR DRIVE
Another concern for local law enforcement during the Autumn months is falling leaves. Sgt. Sears says they can cause roadways to become slick.
“Leaves, like wet grass, is dangerous for motorcycles. They’re still out. The weather is still doing pretty well. But, leaves, it’s not just [dangerous] for bicyclist, just walking around buildings some times, be cautious. It’s a slip hazard, it can be,” Sears said.
“Keep in mind that you also may not be able to detect traffic indications that are painted on the pavement, such as crosswalks,” according to the National Highway Safety Administration. “Additionally, slippery surfaces pose a special threat on winding roads or on abrupt turns.”
1. Reduce speed. If you’re going slower, you’ll have more time to stop.
2. Maintain a healthy distance between you and the driver in front of you, in case that vehicle skids on leaves.
3. Clean off your vehicle. Before starting the engine, clean any leaves off the windshield, top of the car and hood.
4. Make sure your tires have good tread, which helps channel water away from the tires. Less water means more traction.
SPOOKY STREETS: STAYING SAFE ON HALLOWEEN
Halloween is also a busy time for families and local law enforcement alike. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends parents have their kids carry glow sticks or flashlights, use reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags, and wear light colors to help kids see and be seen by drivers.
The organization also recommends parents go trick-or-treating with kids under the age of 12.
They also want drivers to slow down and be alert! Kids are excited on Halloween and may dart into the street. Turn on headlights early in the day to spot kids from further away.
When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. Choose face paint over masks when possible. Masks can limit children’s vision.