Five essential autumn driving tips 0

It’s going to happen soon, despite this late summer resurgence we’re having. Yes, in the not too distant future, clocks will be going back, evenings will be darker. It’ll be getting colder too, especially overnight and first thing in the mornings as millions of us get in our cars for the journey to work.


Most of us will be well versed in driving at this time of year; we’ll have done it many times before. But the change of season does throw up a few changes in driving conditions that are worth bearing in mind. Here are a few tips to consider for when the nights start to draw in:

  1. Leaves. The Americans call this time of year ‘fall’ – imaginatively based on the inescapable fact that tree’s leaves ‘fall’ round about now. Where do they fall to? That’s right, the road – where you’ll be driving along at some point. Freshly fallen leaves can cause all sorts of driving difficulties. Wet leaves can cause your car to slip and lose grip, dry leaves can get flicked up under your car and get tightly wedged into tight crevices in the chassis or undercarriage. It’s worth avoiding parking near piles of fallen leaves if possible. On occasion, it’s been known for car’s catalytic-converters to cause them to combust.
  2. It’s darker. Yes, perhaps this is stating the obvious. Autumn brings early evening (and early morning) darkness. Darkness impairs vision, and driving with impaired vision is the most challenging conditions for any motorist. Exercise a bit more caution, especially when driving on unfamiliar roads. Keep eyes peeled for pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. Temperature. The temperatures will start to dip soon, despite this mini-heat wave we’re currently experiencing. That means frost in the mornings, and as we move closer towards October and November – ice. Make sure your brakes and lights are functioning correctly. As things get really cold, there’ll be black ice on some roads, especially minor ones. Black ice often has the appearance of a puddle or may not be visible at all so extra vigilance never goes amiss. Be careful when driving over bridges or on roads adjacent to canals, rivers or the sea as these will tend to ice faster.
  4. Fog is a hazard at this time of year. It can come on very quickly and seemingly out of no-where. Make sure your fog lamps are functioning correctly before you leave the house. Your main beams aren’t much help in foggy condition as they tend to reflect a ‘white wall’ back at the driver. In foggy conditions, keep an eye on your speedometer as fog can distort your sense of speed.
  5. Preparation. Before you head out, especially on longer trips, make sure your car is fully equipped. Inspect your fluid levels, tyre pressure, wipers, brakes, engine, and other critical parts. Take care of your car, and it will take care of you! If in doubt, book yourself a service.