Autumn driving can be an amazing experience – the landscape is changing as the leaves fall, the days are still bright but the evenings are earlier, and the upcoming holidays are in the air.
But changing conditions can make driving a little bit more difficult, whether it’s the sun lower in the sky, the darker evenings or wet and slippery road surfaces.
Here are five of our top Autumn driving tips to help you get to your destination safely, either on your morning and evening commute, a weekend drive or a longer Autumn road trip.
1. Check your lights
If you normally mainly drive in the daytime, don’t be caught out on your first drive in the dark this Autumn.
Check all of your headlight, brake light and reverse light bulbs are working, as well as your side lights, indicators, fog lights and so on – and if any bulbs have gone, replace them immediately.
You should also double check your headlight alignment so you don’t dazzle oncoming drivers but still light up a good stretch of the road ahead, and clean the glass covers so none of your lights are dimmed by dirty glass.
2. Clean your car
To be safe, you need to be seen, and grimy paintwork can make your car harder to spot in fog, heavy rain or in the dark.
Give it a good clean up, and consider getting a vinyl vehicle wrap installed to brighten the colour of your car if you’re going to be driving in the dark or in dull conditions this season.
3. Wipers and plenum chamber
Check there is no debris trapped under or around your car bonnet. That means cleaning or replacing your wiper blades and clearing out the recess where they sit when they are switched off.
Under the hood, check for leaves that may have been sucked into the plenum chamber – the pressurised air intake for your car’s vents – as these can block the intake or lead to more water being sucked in.
4. Heating and defrosting
Make sure your heaters are in good working order and if there’s a frosty morning, give your defrost settings a real-world road test too.
Remember to make sure your car battery is holding good charge, because the combination of a cold morning and the extra drain of running the heaters can cause problems for older batteries when it comes to starting your ignition, and you don’t want to be left in the cold on your driveway.
5. Ice, water and leaves
Finally, remember that not all road safety can be taken care of before you leave the confines of your driveway – so stay vigilant throughout whatever the Autumn and Winter seasons bring.
Avoid speeding through deep puddles that could cause you to aquaplane; slow down in snowy or icy conditions; and remember that wet leaves can be just as much of a skid hazard too.
Leave longer for your journeys and a larger braking gap between you and the car in front – slow down and enjoy the spectacular sights of driving on Autumn roads, and you stand a much better chance of getting safely to where you’re going.