Top tips for safe autumn driving

A lovely autumnal road
A lovely autumnal road - pretty, but potentially treacherous if you don't keep your wits about you
  • | by Kristian Dando

Summer is officially over. Most of us have long packed up the shorts, flip flops and summer frocks, but now’s a good time to start thinking about the various seasonal hazards on the road which you may have forgotten about over the summer months.

Top advanced driver at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Peter Rodger, has put together some handy hints regarding driving during the on, and make sure you 'leaf' nothing to chance.

  • Clear out plenum chambers - the tray-like area under the bonnet, below the windscreen. This can fill up with water when it gets blocked with leaves. This water can seep into the car's electrics, causing expensive and potentially dangerous damage.
  • A patch of wet leaves can be as dangerous as hitting standing water - take care and reduce your speed before driving onto them. Bear in mind that leaves can be slippery, especially when wet. Avoid hard acceleration or braking as it can cause skidding. And be aware that there may be a dip, pothole or other road hazard hiding under those leaves covering the road.
  • In cold weather, clear windscreens of condensation or ice before setting off. Always give yourself extra time, to ensure visibility is at an optimum before starting your journey.
  • Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition. If they squeak as they wipe, they probably need replacing, and always make sure they are turned off before starting the ignition to save the blades and the risk of a blown motor fuse when the first frost hits.
  • Autumn can also take its toll on car batteries - keep the top of the battery clean and dry and make sure the terminals are tight and free from corrosion.
  • If a battery is more than three years old, check it now; you might save yourself many a frustrating start to a morning.