Autumn Driving Tips: How to stay safe on the road
It's important to make sure you stay safe on the roads. So, we’ve put together some autumn driving tips for you.
This might be the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, but the period of autumn through to winter can be difficult for drivers. Low sun and the return of icy windscreens can cause havoc for drivers in the mornings and evenings, particularly after the clocks go back at the end of October. Low sun means there’s more chance of getting dazzled - and if it’s not in your eyes, there’s a chance it’s affecting the drivers coming towards you.
7 car maintenance tips for autumn
Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape for Autumn with these seven tips.
1. Check your tyres
Checking your tyre pressure and tread on a regular basis is very important and the change of the seasons (every three months) is the perfect time to do it. Road surfaces can be especially wet and slippery in autumn, so it’s important to make sure your tyres are inflated properly, and the tread isn’t worn out. We recommend a 3mm of tread for the winters - so if yours is getting low, get some new tyres now before the cold sets in.
2. Book your winter tyre change
With summer in the rear-view mirror, it might be time to book in for a tyre change. We’d recommend you book your seasonal tyre change before winter is well and truly here. You should typically book your appointment any time from the 1st of October. Remember to book on time to beat the rush.
3. Top up your car's fluids
Checking and maintaining your car’s fluid levels should be done regularly all year round; ideally you should be checking them every few months. Oil, water, and windscreen wiper fluids are all musts to be checked and topped up.
4. Test your lights
With the days getting shorter and darker, having properly functioning lights is essential. Now is the time to test front, rear, brake, and fog lights so you’re not left in the dark. For your brake lights you can test them by asking a family member or friend to stand behind your car and check if they’re working. Or test them yourself by parking in front of a window and checking the reflection.
5. Keep it clean
The change of seasons is a good time to give the exterior of your car a good wash. Don’t forget to clean your windscreen wipers too as dirty wipers can scratch up your windscreen. A dirty windscreen can reflect sunlight which can further affect your vision. So, keeping it clean is essential for your safety when driving.
6. Check on your battery
Car batteries usually last for about five years but tend to lose their charge more quickly when temperatures are colder. So, if yours is needing to be replaced, we’d recommend getting this sorted before winter sets in. If you use your car infrequently, it’s more important to ensure your battery is in good working order before we enter the colder season.
It’s a good idea to use antifreeze throughout the year to protect against corrosion and to help your car stay cool in the warmer months. It’s especially important to add antifreeze during Autumn and Winter as it stops the cooling system from freezing during the colder seasons.
5 top tips for safe driving in autumn
In addition to maintaining your vehicle, it's also important to stay alert on the road. So, here are some additional driving tips.
1. Keep an eye out for children
It might seem a little obvious, as you should be staying vigilant for pedestrians all year round. However, now that the school holidays are over and school is back, there will be more kids out walking or cycling to and from school. Autumn also comes with piles of leaves, often on the sides of roads, that kids can be drawn to play in. So, stay alert at all times.
2. Prepare for all type of weather
During autumn, we can expect to experience all types of weather. One moment it’ll be blue skies and sunshine, and the next it could be rain and fog. Make sure your windscreen wipers are ready for autumn rain showers and your lights should be working well for any fog.
3. Be careful with the roads' surface
During the autumn months, it’s common for the road to get covered in fallen wet leaves. This makes the road surface extremely slippery and difficult to drive on. It can even be as dangerous as driving on ice so make sure to reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles on the road.
4. Avoid driving when tired
As the days start to get shorter and the nights longer, seasonal changes can also affect your body. So, if you’re feeling tired while driving, it’s important to stop at a safe place and take a break. Fatigue is a major contributor factor in crashes in the UK so make sure you avoid driving when tired.
5. Keep a pair of sunglasses to hand
The sun sits lower in the sky during autumn, which can affect visibility when driving. So, make sure to keep a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle and use your sun visor to help you shade your eyes from the sun’s glare. If at any point you do become dazzled by the sunlight, reduce speed and keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front. By doing so, you will have more time to react if you need to suddenly stop.
As we slowly hedge closer to the colder season, get yourself (and your car) prepared, with our additional Winter driving tips.