Autumn leaves are falling along with the poor weather and visibility making our driving conditions more hazardous. Don’t add to the figures of our national accident rate slow down and think about the road conditions before you start each journey.
Not only thinking is your car roadworthy enough when you go to start your journey, also have a look at some of these tips to think about, especially at this time of year!
- Flooding can be very common especially at the side of roads which can come upon you suddenly. Should you not see them and drive through at speed, you could cause your car to aquaplane (slide uncontrollably on a wet surface) and you could veer into oncoming traffic.
- Leave more space between you and the car in front to allow more time to brake should the road be slippery or wet. In wet weather you should use the rule of thumb of a three car length distance between you and the car in front. Remember larger vehicles take longer to stop ie: HGV’s, buses or on-tow vehicles.
- Use you accelerator more than your brakes. By taking your foot off the accelerator more than using the brake you will help your car to slow down especially in wet weather.
- Reduce your speed! As we have mentioned above it takes longer to stop in wet weather so always expect the unexpected – slow your speed down.
- As the nights suddenly become darker, earlier than usual, as we get closer to the end of October and the clocks going back make sure and turn your headlights on when required. Many new cars have the option of Automatic sidelights or DRL’s (daylight running lights) meaning people often think their lights are on. If you see it is getting dark be sure to be seen. This also goes for sunny days when the sun is low. Also make sure your lights are clean so they can be used to their full potential.
- Be more mindful of cyclists, motors cyclists or walkers in poor visibility. Most will wear safety equipment to allow them to be seen which includes bright clothing, hi-vis vests or flashing lights but sometimes in a heavy downpour this isn’t always easy to detect. Expect the unexpected.
- The sun can be low in the sky at this time of year which in turn makes for difficult driving Be sure to clean your windscreen, inside and out, removing the hazy film that builds up. It is also helpful to keep a pair of sunglasses in the car or use the sun visors to help with blocking the sun. If you’re dazzled – SLOW DOWN!
- Check your tyres as it is always good practice to have a good 3mm of thread left on your tyre. A low tread amount will not give you enough grip on the road and cause you a longer braking time.
- Invest in a new set of window wipers if your own have seen better days. Rain on windscreens can give you poor visibility and cause you to see through a blanket of haze.
- Keep a car breakdown safety kit in your car for if you were to break down at the side of the road so you can be seen.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
[images must not be used in any way without prior written consent of the photographer]