With summer most definitely behind us, the onset of autumn brings with it new and unique challenges for drivers. Here’s what to look out for:
The naturally-occurring oils in leaves can, when crushed under tyres, turn a normal-looking road into a slick surface almost without warning. Take extra care on uncleared roads; slow down, leave larger gaps, and brake earlier. This smoother, more measured driving style will also help improve your fuel economy too.
After the summer, windscreens can be covered in a thin film of grease that, when combined with rain and falling leaves by moving windscreen wipers, creates a miasma that’s next to impossible to see through.
Make sure your windscreen washer reservoir is regularly topped up (at least once a fortnight) and includes additives. Water alone won’t do.
Low tyre pressures
Outside temperature changes will impact the pressure in your tyres. Falling with the temperatures, low pressures can make the car’s handling more sluggish and ruin your fuel economy figures.
Blustery conditions can make driving difficult, especially if your car is tall or relatively slab-sided. Be on the lookout for lorries, cyclists and trucks affected by gusts, and be ready to react quickly.
During brief moments of less-than-total cloud cover, you can find yourself temporarily blinded by the sun, which will be sitting lower in the sky than during summer. This is particularly true early in the morning (when driving eastbound) and late in the afternoon (when driving westbound). Make use of your sun visor, carry sunglasses, and regularly use screenwash to clear away grease that can amplify the sun’s effects.
Clogged plenum chambers
These are the tray-like areas that sit between your windscreen and the bonnet. If blocked by fallen leaves, they can prevent rainwater from draining away – potentially flooding the vital electrical parts of the engine, with expensive (or lethal) consequences. Clear away leaves regularly, especially if your car spends lots of time parked around trees.
Burnt out wiper motors
Make sure you turn off windscreen wipers after every journey. Otherwise they’ll come on immediately when you turn the key, and if there’s been a frost the wipers can be jammed in place – burning out the motors inside. Wait for the car to heat up and clear the windscreen (either with a scraper or a chemical spray) before turning on the wipers.
Animal behaviour patterns change significantly in the run up to Christmas, and collisions with deer are never more frequent than in autumn. Be on the lookout when travelling on rural roads, especially at dawn and dusk, and slow down through blind corners.
Little ones are back at school after the summer break, and this may include new cohorts who are unfamiliar with their journey. Watch out for children on foot and bicycles, crossing unexpectedly in the morning and mid-afternoon.
Of course, fog makes seeing more difficult. You can make it worse, though, by using high-beam headlights. This refracts in the fog, making it appear thicker. So keep headlights dipped, and remember also that fog and mist can make roads slippery.
Get a free check-up
HA Fox Jaguar offers complimentary Visual Safety Checks all year round. Book in now to ensure your car’s tyres, lights, wipers and other elements are in perfect working order.