Autumn driving risks

Here are some top tips to help drivers cope with the unpredictable Autumn weather.

Coping with… Heavy Rain and Wet Conditions

Watch for leaves and large puddles on the road

Loose leaves that are flattened and wet act just like ice. With puddles, it’s difficult to judge their depth, which could lead to serious damage to your vehicle. Therefore, you should try to avoid both if possible or drive slowly over them, taking extra care.

Prepare your tyres

This goes hand-in-hand with the above tip. Wet or icy roads demand tyres that are in good condition. You need at least 3mm of tread to be legal, but newer tyres are better. Check the pressure too, regularly. Under-inflation means less grip.

Check the condition of your wiper blades

In the more autumnal misty, murky conditions you need wiper blades in tip top condition. Clean them with a soft cloth and ensure they are in full working condition. If your sight is limited in any way while using them, replace them as soon as possible.

Coping with… Dark Commutes

High beams on standby 

Give your headlights and rear lights a clean and make sure all are in working condition, including the high beams. But remember, try to only use the high beams when you really need them and not when other drivers are approaching.

Take sunglasses

With the shorter days comes a lower sun which can be awkwardly placed during your morning and evening drive. Often, it’s so low that even the sun visor can’t block it. Sunglasses will help.

Stay alert

The darker mornings and evenings may leave you feeling drowsier behind the wheel. To avoid this, make sure you get enough sleep the night before, swap drivers if possible during long trips and drink caffeine if necessary. If you find yourself growing tired, pull over to rest or stretch your legs.  

Coping with… Frost

Give yourself extra time in the mornings

It can be a pain, but it’s very dangerous to only scrape a small viewing hole in the windscreen and then rush off to work. To avoid the frost altogether, park your car in a garage or cover it overnight.

Check antifreeze levels

Antifreeze prevents the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing. You can contact a professional mechanic to check this for you, or buy an antifreeze tester for a small price.

Check the battery

As the weather turns colder, your car will need to take more energy from the battery. It’s best to inspect your battery this time of year to make sure it can survive the autumn and winter; you can always buy a car battery tester to do this.

Coping with… High Winds

Monitor your speed

The faster you drive, the more likely you are to lose control. Always monitor your speed, take your time and keep a good extra distance between yourself and other cars.

Anticipate debris

Prepare yourself for sporadic bits of debris in the road or even fallen trees. This is another reason for keeping your speed low in high winds.

Don’t travel unless necessary

Check before you leave and if the conditions on the road are hazardous or you feel uncomfortable driving in such weather, do not attempt to do so unless necessary.  

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