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Autumn shaping up: Enjoy it, drivers, but be vigilant

Autumn in Illinois can be just about as compelling as it is anywhere else in the United States, with the annual transition it marks providing for dramatic scene-changing moments. For many people, the interlude between summer and winter can be especially magical, given its shimmering display of foliage transformation and its promise of approaching holidays.

While all that is well and good, of course, the annual march through autumn necessitates a yearly reminder to motorists who are out on state roads and highways enjoying the views.

Here’s that reminder: Be mindful of the changing weather and the yearly adjustments it mandates for drivers.

At least for careful drivers, who well appreciate the singular risks associated with fall driving.

Here’s one, with strong relevance for Illinois -- deer. Autumn is mating season for these animals, and they are on the move. Deer are amazingly intuitive and cautious about many things, but being astute about motorized traffic is not a particular forte for the species. They need to be watched for on Illinois roads during the fall months, especially early in the morning and around dusk.

Diminished visibility -- especially as compared with summer months -- is another autumn-related factor to be duly focused upon. Sun glare can be a problem. Work commutes for many drivers are suddenly made in the dark, both going to work and returning home. Fog can be prevalent during fall months.

Then there are those slippery roads, owing to fall rains, wet leaves on pavement, frost in the morning and other factors.

The bottom line for motorists is simply appreciating anew each year that autumn features a number of catalysts that can up the odds for motor vehicle accidents.

Take care on the roads.

Source: esurance, “Dangers of fall driving,” accessed Oct. 13, 2014

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