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autumn driving advice

Is your car ready for Autumn?

The days are shortening, the leaves are falling, the temperature is definitely dropping – Autumn is well and truly here. Whether it’s dealing with wet and slippery road surfaces, standing water after rainfall, fog, the dazzling low sun and reduced visibility on darker mornings and evenings, or just a vehicle that doesn’t like waking up on cold days, autumn does bring extra challenges for drivers, both for longer journeys and short hops like the school run. How can you make sure that you and your car are ready for it?

Deal with impediments to your vision

There are several things that can make it harder for you to see and spot potential hazards when driving at this time of year. The below actions or checks can make a big difference!

  • Clean your windsceen (inside as well as the outside) to remove any build-up of dirt or film that could reduce your ability to see well
  • Check the glass for any chips or scratches as these can make the glare of the sun an even bigger distraction
  • Check you have adequate screenwash so you’re always able to use it when needed
  • Check your wiper blades for damage and efficiency. If they don’t clear the windscreen of water in a single wipe then they probably need replacing
  • Check the sun visors are working and easy to move when needed
  • Use your headlights when driving in dull conditions, heavy rain or when visibility is otherwise reduced

Check your tyres

Whilst the legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, you’ll want at least double that over the autumn and winter to help ensure your car can deal with some of the road conditions that are common at these times of the year.

Your tyre pressure can also fluctuate with big changes in temperature, so ensure that your tyres are all inflated to the optimum pressure for your vehicle at least once a month throughout the autumn and winter, as well as before any long drives.

Check all lights

Whilst headlights are vital at this time of year, don’t forget to check that all of your car’s other lights are functioning properly too. This includes brake lights and the light above your number plates too. It might sound silly, but for lights that you don’t use that often, such as fog lights, refamiliarising yourself with where the controls are and how to switch them on and off could be really useful in case you need them mid-drive.

Check your car’s fluid levels

Screenwash is an important check as mentioned previously, but you’ll also want to check your car’s coolant level and engine oil level regularly. Always do these checks when the car is cold, rather than just after it has been driven.

It might sound obvious to check that you have enough fuel to get where you need to go, but cars can perform differently in colder months and you can sometimes get through fuel more quickly than you might expect at warmer times of the year.

Have an emergency kit in the boot

You might have a tyre repair kit, tools and a spare and perhaps a warning triangle in your boot already. It could be worth adding some extra kit to this just in case you break down or have to stop somewhere unexpectedly. A hat, gloves, some warm clothes or a blanket, a waterproof jacket, as well as some long-life food (snack or energy bars can be a good option) and some sealed bottled water could be a real boon if you get stuck somewhere for a while at this time of year.

If you want to get your car checked out by the experts to make sure it’s in great condition before the inclement weather hits, contact your closest Hatfields to book a COVID-safe service appointment, which will include essential safety checks.