Autumn Driving Tips

1st September 2014

September heralds John Keats' "Days of mists and mellow fruitfulness"  and in rural counties such as Cumbria early autumn brings its own driving challenges which motorists should be aware of.

Around 40,000 and 75,000 deer are killed on the roads every year. Those accidents kill and injure car occupants too, and cause millions of pounds worth of damage to vehicles.

With darker mornings there is more chance of seeing deer on the morning and evening commute than in the summer. If you're using full beam head-lights, dip them if you see a deer, otherwise it may freeze in your path. It's usually safer to slow down and continue on your normal track rather than swerve or brake hard to try to avoid it. Sudden manoeuvres can result in a loss of control and increase the risk of hitting a tree or another vehicle.

A good view

Good visibility is vital for safe driving butlow autumn sun creates dazzle and glare so make sure your windscreen's clean inside and out, free from abrasions, scratches and chips.

Windscreen wiper blades only last for a couple of years at most so you might want to renew worn blades to clear the screen more effectively, although judging by a recent Saga survey DIY car maintenance is dying out even though most MOT failures are because ofsimple things like a blown bulb or worn windscreen wiper.

Avoid breakdowns

One of the most common causes of breakdown at any time of year is battery failure so if it's struggling a bit now, the chances are it'll let you down at some time during the winter, particularly if it's more than five years old. Replace it now to avoid the hassle later when the weather's far worse.

Tyres

Not only are bald or defective tyres extremely dangerous, it could cost you thousands of pounds in fines and penalty points on your licence. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm although the AA recommends you should have at least 3mm of tread for winter driving,

Regularly check tyre pressures when they're cold, not after a long drive, as apart from safety, the wrong tyre pressures use more fuel and as forecourt prices continue to rise, we all need to drive as economically as possible.

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