Keeping Four Eyes Peeled - Orange Leaves are as Slippery as White Snow - Safe Driving Tips

Dear Old Dad used to warn us youngins’ to “Keep Our Four Eyes Peeled, ”  before climbing behind the wheel. The implication was being mindful of what we cannot see behind us.

So “keep an eye out” for our “Drive…He Said”  Four Eyes Peeled segments on seasonal driving safety tips, quips and anecdotes.

– First up is the extra caution needed in this colorful Midwestern autumn season of  falling leaves.

Early this morning, after a night of deluges, we took to a tree-lined residential Chicagoland street.  Luckily our chariot-o’-the week is the safety-rich 2013 Volvo S60 T5 sporty executive sedan.  Moving at 28 mph, and approaching a stop sign, we firmly braked our sleek Swede atop the slimy burnt orange fallen foliage now cemented to the pavement.

Seemingly out of nowhere lit-up the tilted pinball machine level of instrument cluster warning lights. There was the accompanying grinding of multi-channel anti-lock disc brakes with brake force distribution and braking assist. Computer controlled brake application and throttle retardation, part of dynamic traction stability control, kept the all-wheel drive Volvo, shod with Continental ContiPro Contact all-season performance tires, moving arrow-straight rather than fishtailing or veering.

Despite the bevy of traction technology the Volvo S60 T5 still needed approximately 50 feet to come to a complete rest on the leaf-covered street. It may not sound like much so picture the equivalent of four average sized car lengths. In the accompanying video we upped the speed to 40 mph, hit the brakes with full force and stopping distances increased to 150 feet, or 12 car lengths. Basically, stopping a 3500-pound car on wet leaves isn’t much easier than stopping on snow.

Except that the white fluffy stuff can be plowed and salted.

Leave a comment