Wet leaves on roadways: How much distance it takes to stop your vehicle

Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 10:25 AM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - The recent windy and rainy weather across eastern Iowa and western Illinois recently has caused a lot of leaves on the trees to fall into your yards, on your house, in your driveway and of course, on the roadways.

Roads can become very slippery during or after rain events with the leaves on the ground.

The wet leaves can act as an oil slick and create slippery travel, so make sure you allow plenty of distance to stop your vehicle.

For example, if you are traveling in an area with a speed limit of 40 mph on a normal, dry roadways, you typically want to make sure you have at least 80 feet of stopping distance.

If the road is wet due to rain, the stopping distance doubles to at least 160 feet, due to less traction between the tires on your vehicle and the roadway beneath.

Add on wet leaves during or after rainfall, there needs to be at least 250 feet of stopping distance. The stopping distance more than triples on a roadway with wet leaves, compared to a dry roadways. This is due to less friction between the tires and the leaves, and the leaves and the ground.

Stop distances vary when snow and ice cover the roads.

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