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Autumn Driving Safety Tips

With the end of Summer nearby, it’s time to put away the sun cream and swimsuits and start thinking about layering up and the approach of holidays like Halloween and Bonfire Night. Autumn can be a beautiful time of year, with the changing colour palette of nature on a bright, crisp morning. However, it can make driving conditions a little different to the summer months leading up to it. Here are some of our tips for keeping safe on the roads this Autumn.

The roads

  • Wet, fallen leaves can be extremely slippery on the road and the pavement. Hiding road markings and other hazards like potholes. So, pay close attention to clear road markings and be wary of pedestrians walking by.
  • Morning frost can create icy road patches in shaded or rural areas; take extra care by reducing your speed.
  • Deer breeding season coincides with Autumn, so be extra vigilant in rural or wooded areas, especially around sunrise and sunset when they are most active. Deer warning signs should be in place to warn you of known deer areas.
  • Many areas have frequent flood warnings in the autumn as rainfall levels go up. If you’re driving through these areas, make sure you check the weather and flood warnings from the sites like Flood Warning Information from gov.uk.
  • If the roads are flooded, avoid areas of deep water, which is usually the kerb edge or a pothole. Drive slowly across the water but keep the engine revs high to avoid stalling and getting stuck. If another car is crossing in front, be aware that the waves from that car may submerge your car, so leave a gap. Do not attempt to cross deep water. A car can float in as little as two feet of standing water.

Vehicle Preparation

  • Early morning sun in Autumn is especially low, so vision can be impaired even with sun visors. Clearing your windscreen, inside and out, of any hazy film residue can make it as clear as possible.
  • A pair of sunglasses in the car used for driving may help the sun’s glare until it rises high enough.
  • Sorting out any scratches or chips is also something to consider, as they can e made worse by hidden potholes and intensified sun glare.
  • Replacing wiper blades if they are worn, damaged or over 4 years old. It can make clearing leaves and heavy rain much easier.
  • Consider fitting cold weather tyres towards the end of Autumn or the beginning of Winter. They dramatically improve grip and stability when temperatures drop.
  • Ensure your headlights and bulbs are in working order; they will also help other drivers spot you in foggy or low-light areas and make it easier for you to see.
  • Make sure your battery is in good shape; they need replacing every 5 or so years, so make sure there are no signs of the battery struggling.
  • Antifreeze is important in the Autumn; with temperatures dropping, it can be a nightmare having to sit and manually defrost the car every day. Make sure you keep a bottle of antifreeze in the car and keep on top of your Antifreeze level. Many garages check the antifreeze for you and can offer cheap or free winter checks. 

What to keep in the car?

Having supplies in the boot or glove compartment may seem obvious, but you do not want to be caught out if you are far from home or from a supply shop. Consider keeping the following in your car –

  • De-icer
  • Ice scraper
  • Blankets
  • Map of your local area
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Your breakdown providers’ details and any information they might need from you.  
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Phoebe Rowe

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