Although winter is without a doubt the most dangerous time of year for drivers, autumn also presents some hazards that all road users should look out for. Low sun, a change in the weather and animals on the road are just a few of the dangers you should be looking out for when driving during the autumn.
By spending a little time now, making yourself aware of the hazards you should be looking out for, you’re much less likely to be involved in a collision over the season. In an attempt to minimise the number of accidents on our roads here are our top hazards to be aware of when driving around this autumn.
Animals on the road are an issue throughout the year, but during the autumn and as winter arrives, many of the smaller animals start to enter hibernation and are therefore no longer a danger. However, this means that the animals you’ll come across on the roads are likely to be much larger.
Deer are a particular issue as the dark nights come in because your chances of seeing them – especially when travelling on speedy country roads – in time to be able to stop are extremely slim. Deer are involved in between 42,000 and 74,000 road collisions every year in the UK and, as a result, there are many human injuries and fatalities.
It’s important to always be on the lookout for obstacles in the road and if you’re driving on unfamiliar or country roads at dusk or in the dark, then be cautious and slow down, especially if you can’t see up ahead.
Because autumn brings with it shorter days, it means that the sun rises later in the morning and sets earlier in the evening and, unfortunately, it affects the majority of motorists during commuting hours.
When driving in low sun it becomes increasingly difficult to see the road ahead of you so you need to make sure that you’re not limiting your visibility in any way. Make sure your windscreen is clean and clear of any debris, water, mist or ice and it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses too to stop you needing to squint. You should also drive more slowly and, if you really can’t see, consider stopping altogether.
Autumn and winter always bring with them their fair share of heavy downpours, and during busy periods of low light, driving can be an absolute nightmare. Whether the middle of the day or night, if visibility is impaired, make sure you turn on your headlights so that you can be seen by other motorists. Make sure you slow down and steer clear of deep puddles when possible to avoid aquaplaning.
Fog is another huge hazard in the unpredictable autumn weather. If you find yourself driving in fog then slow down, use dipped headlights and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.
As the trees prepare for winter, they start to shed their leaves, covering roads and pavements. Because they become slippery, fallen leaves can be really dangerous when wet and can make stopping extremely difficult. If you’re driving over a surface of wet leaves then give yourself extra time to stop to ensure you’re able to come to a halt safely.
Half term is almost here and when it’s over the formation of the day will be completely different. The clocks will have gone back when the kids return to school, which means that it’ll be dark when they leave school so it’s really important to take extra care.
Driving in the autumn is no different to any other time of year as long as you’re aware of the hazards and adjust your driving style accordingly.