With summer officially having ended, it’s time to prepare for autumn driving conditions. While the turning of the leaves transforms the British landscape into a kaleidoscope of golds, ambers and reds, the new season can make for some challenging driving conditions. Make sure you’re ready with our autumn driving guide…
Prepare your car for autumn
Clean your windscreen. Grimy glass can exacerbate glare from the low autumn sun.
Use a high quality screen-wash - your car's handbook will show you how and where to apply it.
Repair any scratches and chips - they can also make the sun’s glare worse.
Check your wiper blades - and replace them if necessary.
Use sunglasses and visors - to block out the sun’s glare.
If the sun dazzles you, slow down.
Use headlights to be visible to other road users.
Prepare yourself for the environment
Beware of leaves on the road - they can make for slippery conditions. Remember to increase the distance between you and the car in front when road conditions are slippery.
Watch out for deer if you live where they are present. Autumn is rutting season - when males are chasing females - which means they are moving around more than usual. Be ready to make an emergency stop if necessary. 42,000 deer are killed on UK roads each year - and collisions are on the rise, according to experts. Deer activity peaks in autumn - a time when there is more traffic on the roads due to the shorter days.
Beware of ice on the road. Even though it's not winter yet, ice can appear. Again, increase the distance between you and other vehicles. Take special care if black ice has been reported.
Dealing with dazzle
If the sun is behind you, remember that those coming towards you may be dazzled and have their vision impacted.
If the sun is in front of you, drivers behind you could be dazzled.
In general, batteries last for about five years. If yours is struggling, replace it before winter sets in, when it will be under even more pressure. Batteries lose their charge more quickly in colder temperatures. If you use your car infrequently, it is even more important to ensure your battery is in good working order before the winter months arrive.
Check your bulbs regularly - ideally every few weeks. Also check your brakes and number plate lights.
Tyres should have a tread depth of 3mm. If yours are getting worn, replace them before wetter, more slippery conditions set in.
Add antifreeze throughout the year - it protects against corrosion and helps your car stay cool in warmer months. Antifreeze and coolant are often sold as a single product.
Your regular servicing should include an antifreeze check. If you’re not sure which antifreeze to use, consult your car's handbook. Some garages offer free winter checks which include antifreeze.
What to carry in your car
Autumn is generally a mild season, but sudden cold snaps could mean your car is more liable to breaking down.
Consider keeping the following in your car:
- Ice scraper
- Mobile phone
- Charger for your mobile phone
- Your car breakdown provider's contact details/smartphone app