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Auto company says most Mass. car crashes happen in the fall

BOSTON — Get ready because Massachusetts drivers are involved in more crashes in the fall than any other season, according to vehicle information company CARFAX.

“I think I expected—like most would—it would be the winter,” said CARFAX Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen. “For nearly three quarters of the country, including Massachusetts, fall is the most dangerous time of year for accidents.”

CARFAX analyzed 2022 crash data and found more than 72 percent of U.S. drivers—roughly 170 million—live in states where fall is the peak season for accident damage.

According to Olsen, there’s three reasons for this:

IT’S DEER MATING SEASON- Deer mate between September and November, with the main breeding time in October. CARFAX found one study that showed a 16 percent spike in deer-car collisions in the week after the end of Daylight Saving Time.

“Deer become much more active and often get close to roadways, particularly near sunset,” Olsen said.

SUNSETS ARE EARLIER—Fall means shorter days and more driving in the dark.

“Days are getting shorter and statistics tell us drivers are twice as likely to get in accidents in the dark as they are in daylight,” Olsen said.

WET LEAVES—A car travelling at highway speeds takes about 80 feet to stop on a dry road. Olsen said that distance more than doubles on wet leaves.

“Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. It can take up to 200 feet for that car to stop,” Olsen said.

Olsen said these three steps can help prevent collisions:

ROUTINELY CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE

“Each month when you’re getting gas, check your tire pressure and compare it to the sticker on your door jam to make sure you’re at the right level of inflation,” Olsen said.

KEEP YOUR WINDSHIELD CLEAN AND CLEAR

“When there’s dry leaves or dirty mud on the windshield and you’re trying to drive into the sunset, that’s a recipe for disaster,” Olsen said.

JUST SLOW DOWN

“Now that it’s darker earlier, give yourself some space and some room to deal with situations. Give other drivers some space and room to deal with situations,” Olsen said.

For most of the country, spring is the season with the fewest accidents, Olsen said. Vermont is the only state in New England that has more crashes in the winter than fall, according to CARFAX.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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