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Jana Tidwell
Public Relations Manager, PA
O: (302) 299-4426
C: (302) 353-6563

Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312

AAA Mid-Atlantic: Wet Leaves Can Be Slick as Ice

PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 5, 2018) Autumn leaves that just seemed to change color last week, have now fallen to the ground, creating extremely hazardous road conditions.  Heavy rain and wind the past few days have caused leaves to fall rapidly, blanketing some roads completely and creating a driving situation more slippery than ice itself.

AAA Mid-Atlantic reminds motorists that wet roads and fallen leaves are a recipe for traffic trouble.  Unlike a sheet of ice that does not move, wet leaves are often layered on the road and move quickly when tires make contact, presenting a real challenge for motorists.

“Fall rain is different than summer rain because there are leaves everywhere, greatly reducing traction on many roads,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Drivers should treat wet leaves like they would ice and make the required adjustments to speed and spacing necessary for driving safely.”

Use the following tips to navigate through wet and leafy weather:

  • Reduce speed significantly. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and speeds should decrease.
  • Increase following distances. Even a relatively small amount of water on the roadway can significantly reduce traction, increase stopping distances and increase the likelihood of an out-of-control skid with hard braking. If you are forced to stop in traffic due to poor visibility, turn on emergency flashers immediately and pull as far off the road as possible.
  • Turn on windshield wipers as soon as rain begins to fall. If intermittent wipers are used, be certain they are set to a speed that will clear the windshield before visibility is compromised.
  • Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility. In New Jersey it is the law – wipers on, lights on.
  • Never drive into any flooded area, especially if the water is moving quickly.

Additionally, leaves carry sap and pollen—both of which have acidic properties, just like bird droppings. The acids in sap and pollen are corrosive to your car’s paint.

What can you do about it?

  • Don’t park under trees. Because trees make leaves, and leaves fall off, and leaves do damage to cars.
  • Get a cover for your car. This will also protect it from bird droppings, hail, and more. The downside is that if you don’t have a cool or expensive car, the cover will make your neighbors think you’re full of yourself. Remove leaves from your car right away.
  • Use your hands to do this. You’ll want to use a broom if there are a lot of leaves, but you’re likely to scratch your car’s paint with the broom, which defeats the purpose. 
  • Wash away the stains immediately. Use a soft cloth and a liquid car wash solution to wash away sap/pollen residue.
  • And when fall ends, get your car washed and waxed.

    For more information on a wide variety of automotive topics visit THE BRAKEDOWN


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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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