In the blink of an eye, summer’s drawing to a close. Even if you’ve had your eyes shut since May, you wouldn’t have missed much, as in true style, it’s been a traditionally dreary British summer.
Despite the occasional burst of good weather, it never stuck around for long and now, with the turning of the leaves and shorter daylight hours, the inevitable autumnal changes are coming.
Although the trees might look pretty with their autumnal colours, once they start to shed their leaves, it can make for some rather unpleasant driving conditions. Take extra care on tree-lined streets and country roads, and increase your stopping distance to account for potential skidding.
While we’re big fans of summery autumn days, the glare from the sun can be quite dangerous and distracting, especially when it’s flickering through trees. Rather than squinting, we’d recommend keeping a pair of sunglasses in the glove compartment and use your car’s sun visor, as well as keeping your windscreen clean from smudges.
With the shorter days, a lot of our furry friends are becoming much more active, especially deer. According to wildlife experts, October and November is rutting season. With more than 42,000 deer killed on the roads each year, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when driving in rural areas.
Rain, fog, wind, and maybe even a bit of hail and ice…when autumn hits you never really know what the weather’s going to bring next. Although it might not be winter quite yet, the temperatures can drop without warning. If it looks like the temperature is going to be dropping below five degrees, prepare yourself for trickier driving conditions – go slow and keep your eyes peeled for any patches of black ice.
One of the worst things about autumn and winter is the short days, which means you’re going to be driving in the dark a lot more. Make sure you check your lights thoroughly and practise driving in the dark to build up confidence – particularly if you spend a lot of time driving in rural areas.
While you might be mentally ready for driving in autumn, is your car? Take a look at our top tips for getting your car ready for driving this autumn.
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 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.
All set to go now? Then drive safely, and keep us bookmarked so you can check out our regular driving news updates.