posted 4 years ago

Autumn driving tips

Stay safe on the roads as the nights draw in

Driving in the autumn is picture-book pretty, but it’s also one of the most dangerous times of the year to hit the road.   Low dazzling sun, heavy rain and strong winds, swirling leaves and dark evenings add up to poor visibility and potential dangers.  Plan ahead to avoid being caught-out:

  1. Make sure you’ve packed a warm coat and a torch in the boot, in case you breakdown.  That late sunshine blazing through your windscreen is deceptive – it’s not too warm outside, especially at night.

  2. Clean your windscreen, inside and out. During the year, a film can build-up, causing visibility problems in the low, autumn sun.

  3. Ensure your wiper blades are up to the job.  Generally, blades will last up to two years and new blades clear the screen far more effectively.

  4. Topping-up your washer fluid is essential.  Use a good quality fluid to reduce the chances of it freezing and keep an eye on the levels – running-out could be dangerous on a wet, windy motorway.   

  5. If it’s more than five years old, consider changing your battery.  Failing batteries are one of the most common causes of breakdown, particularly when it gets colder because of higher electrical loading.  Keep the top of the battery clean and dry and the terminals tight and free from corrosion.

  6. While you should check your bulbs regularly throughout the year, it’s even more important as winter creeps in. Include your brake lights and number plate lights in your checks, and keep some spare bulbs.

  7. Give your tyres a thorough check – general condition, tread depth and pressure. Changing weather conditions mean the health of your tyres is paramount.  You could consider fitting winter tyres.

  8. When it’s cold, clear windscreens of condensation/ice before setting-off.  Allow extra time to do this properly, to ensure optimum visibility. You may also want to check weather reports – if frost is imminent, have a sheet or a large piece of cardboard handy to put across your screen to prevent the ice clinging to your screen.

  9. Antifreeze isn’t just for winter.  It contains additives that prevent corrosion and improve cooling, and should be checked as part of your car’s regular service schedule.  

  10. Read your vehicle handbook.  It’ll contain plenty of helpful tips and advice on driving in all weather conditions, and provide you with the information you need on how to replace bulbs, tyre pressures etc.  Alternatively, your local garage many offer cheap or free winter checks.