Autumn Driving Advice

11 Sep 2017

The change in season is a beautiful time – stunning autumn leaves, misty mornings and hazy sunsets. It also presents a host of extra hazards for road users, with collisions leaping by an average of 15% in October, so a little preparation and awareness will stand you in good stead.

The nights are drawing in, so don’t forget to turn your lights on as dusk approaches.

Watch out for fallen leaves. They can be extremely slippery and act like standing water or ice if you brake on them. They may also hide potholes or other hazards. Make sure you clear leaves from your plenum chamber – the gully below your windscreen – so they don’t cause water to back up and get into your car’s electrics. Be aware that cyclists will want to avoid leaves and other debris, so may need to pull out or cycle in the centre of the lane.

Book your car in for a pre-winter check to make sure your tyres, brakes, wipers, heater and demisters are in good working order. Wiper blades should ideally be replaced every 2 years, and washer fluid needs to be topped up and treated with a good quality purpose-made antifreeze additive.

Check you battery is in good condition. It’s one of the main causes of breakdowns throughout the year, but is particularly likely during the colder months. Now is a good time to think about replacing it before the winter.

Keep your windscreen clean both inside and out, free from scratches, abrasions, chips and smears. The low morning or evening sun combined with a dirty windscreen can render it opaque, and even a few seconds of sun-blindness can cause an accident. Always allow extra time to fully demist and deice all windows before you set off.

It may sound silly, but do be aware that it’s rutting season for deer. There’s a large population in Somerset, and up to 75,000 are killed on UK roads each year, killing or injuring many occupants of the vehicles involved. Mind your speed on rural roads – particularly at dawn and dusk - and expect the unexpected.

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