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How to avoid a breakdown this autumn

By Mathilda Bartholomew | October 10, 2023

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Whether you're a newcomer to autumn driving or a seasoned pro navigating the shifts of the season, these valuable tips are here to guarantee your autumn driving experience is smooth sailing.

How to avoid a breakdown this autumn

Whether you're a newcomer to autumn driving or a seasoned pro navigating the shifts of the season, these valuable tips are here to guarantee your autumn driving experience is smooth sailing.

Fill up on fluids

One way you can ensure your car is ready for autumn is by topping up essential fluids. Prioritise antifreeze for frosty mornings and inquire at a garage if unsure about the suitable type. Make sure to also monitor washer fluid levels to combat rain and falling leaves, maintaining a clear windscreen.

Check your car battery

Give your battery the once over and replace your car battery if it's nearing the four-year mark, especially before severe weather sets in. Ensure you have breakdown cover to avoid getting stranded in the cold with a flat battery. Even if your battery seems fine, a precautionary check is advisable. 

Prepare yourself for driving in the dark

With shorter days upon us, prepare for increased night-time driving. Whether it's your first autumn behind the wheel or you lack confidence driving in the dark, consider building up practice. Night-time driving, especially in areas with limited lighting, can be a different experience, so gaining experience before longer journeys is advisable.

Make sure to regularly check your lights, ideally every few weeks, for year-round safety. It is crucial to inspect all lights, including headlights, brake lights, fog lights, hazards, and number plate lights. Ensure all are in working order to maintain safety on the road.

Be prepared for all weather

Autumn's arrival brings temperature drops and diverse weather conditions like rain, fog, wind, and possibly snow and ice, impacting driving conditions. Beware of slippery roads due to rain and ice, adjusting steering and braking distances accordingly. In foggy conditions, ensure functional fog lights and drive with heightened caution. Check the weather forecast before traveling and keep warm, wet-weather clothing in the car for unexpected changes.  

Look out for leaves

While autumn leaves may appear picturesque as they turn golden brown, they pose significant dangers on roads. Exercise extra caution when traveling through rural routes and tree-lined streets in urban areas.

According to the Highway Code, maintain a two-second gap between your vehicle and the one in front. However, on leaf-slicked roads, especially after rain, increase this gap to account for extended stopping distances.

As well as being very slippery when wet, leaves can conceal unexpected hazards like potholes, so ensure you're driving attentively to handle any unforeseen challenges.

Prepare to be dazzled

During autumn, the lower sun in the sky can create increased glare for drivers, especially when filtering through leafless trees. To mitigate this, keep sunglasses in the car, utilise the sun visor, and ensure your windscreen is consistently clean to prevent streaks that could impair vision in sunlight.

Watch out for wildlife

Wildlife such as deer, foxes, badgers, rabbits, and occasional wildcats pose a real danger while driving in the UK. With thousands of deer casualties annually, exercise caution, especially in wooded areas and rural lanes. Pay attention to road signs warning about the presence of deer in the vicinity.  

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