September’s getting off to a reasonable start too, but we’ve all got to face it – autumn is well and truly on its way now. Just take a look at all the fallen leaves already…
This might be your first autumn driving your own car. Or you might just want a little reminder of all the things to take care of as you prepare your motor for the colder, wetter weather. Our autumn auto checklist is just what you need to help stay safe on the roads.
To be legally roadworthy, tyres need a tread of at least 1.6mm, but if they’re below 3mm you’ll already find the grip wearing off – and you don’t want to be slipping and sliding around on wet roads. So make sure your tyres are in good condition.
Top up your antifreeze and, if you’re unsure as to which one to use, get professional advice on which is the best for your car. Autumn can get chilly, so you don’t want your engine freezing up when the temperatures plummet.
Get your battery checked. Batteries don’t tend to last much longer than about five years, so if it’s on the wane, you’ll be wanting to replace it before the winter sets in and you’re left with a flat battery in the freezing cold.
You should be checking your lights every fortnight or so throughout the year, but as autumn starts and the nights draw in, you’ll be using your lights increasingly more, so make sure they’re working. Make sure all your lights work — including your fog lights — and consult your handbook or a mechanic if you’re not sure how to change them.
With rain, fallen leaves and maybe the odd bit of hail hitting your windscreen, it makes sense to check your washer fluid levels to help keep your vision clear. It’s also a good idea to replace the wipers themselves if you’ve had them for over two years.
The autumn leaves might look pretty, but when they fall they can be a bit hazardous on rural roads and tree-lined urban streets. Take extra care on these routes and keep more distance from the vehicle in front of you, so you can factor in longer stopping times.
Rain, fog, wind, maybe even a bit of hail and ice. When autumn hits you never really know what the weather’s going to bring next. Rain and ice can make surfaces slippery and affect steering and braking, while fog can seriously impede visibility. So keep speeds down and make sure your fog lights are working.
Everyone loves a bit of autumnal sunshine, but when you’re driving, the glare from the low sun can be dangerous and distracting, especially when it’s flickering through the trees. Keep a pair of good sunglasses in the glove compartment, make full use of the sun visor, and keep your windscreen clean.
The shorter days mean you’re going to be driving at night a lot more, so check your lights thoroughly and practice driving in the dark to build up confidence – particularly if you spend a lot of time driving in rural areas.
The schools are back, which means there’ll be a lot of kids on and around the roads at the beginning and end of the school day. Pay particular attention when driving through school areas and be careful of schoolchildren on bikes and scooters.
You might have noticed that October and November are rutting season, when stags and bucks rut their antlers as they compete for the affection of female deer. It’s certainly a spectacular sight, but it does mean there are a lot more deer about in rural areas.
Tens of thousands of deer are killed on our roads each year – but if drivers take that little bit of extra care when driving on rural roads, a lot of these deaths can be avoided. Be careful of other wildlife, too, especially if you’re traveling in woodland areas or rural lanes.
All set to go now? Then drive safely, and keep us bookmarked so you can check out our regular driving news updates. They’ll keep you in the know and one step ahead.
And by the way – here at 1ST CENTRAL we’re very proud of our car insurance. It’s Defaqto 5 Star rated, meaning we provide one of the highest quality offerings currently on the market.