Autumn driving advice

Don't get caught out by the seasonal change in driving conditions

Avoid being caught out by the seasonal change in driving conditions

Avoid being caught out by the seasonal change in driving conditions

Autumn isn't all about blackberries and crunchy leaves – it also brings many changes for road users, from dazzlingly blinding sunlight to the first icy windscreen of the season. Be prepared – plan ahead to avoid being caught out.

Autumn is particularly bad for dazzle from low sun. Improve vision by making sure that the windscreen is clean – inside and out. Even non-smokers find a hazy film builds up on the inside surface of the windscreen over time. Scratches, abrasions and chips on the outside can intensify the sun's dazzle too.

Windscreen wipers

Blades will last for two years at the most. New blades clear the screen more effectively and so help reduce dazzle from the sun. Now is a good time to renew worn blades.

Windscreen washer fluid

Top up and treat with a good quality, purpose-made additive to reduce the chance of freezing. Don't use ordinary engine anti-freeze but do check the handbook carefully to make sure you fill the right reservoir.

Battery

This is one of the most common causes of breakdown at any time of year, but particularly in the winter when electrical loads are higher. If there's any sign of the battery struggling now, the likelihood is that it'll let you down at some time during the winter, particularly if it's more than five years old. It makes sense to renew the battery now to avoid the hassle and inconvenience of an unplanned failure later.

More about batteries and winter breakdowns >>

Bulbs

Check all bulbs regularly (at least once a week) not forgetting brake lights and number plate lights. The handbook will show you how to change bulbs, though some headlight bulbs may require a visit to the garage. Carry some spare bulbs.

Tyres

Check all tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. We recommend at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring, so if the treads are getting low think about buying new tyres now before the colder weather sets in.

More about tyres >>

Antifreeze

Not just for winter, antifreeze is important all year round as it contains additives to prevent corrosion and improve summer cooling too. It should be checked as part of the regular service schedule.

A frozen engine is very expensive to repair so if there's any doubt now is a good time to check the concentration. The handbook will give details of the correct antifreeze to use for your car — there are different types and mixing them could cause engine damage. If in doubt get a garage to check for you — many offer cheap or even free winter checks at this time of year.

More about antifreeze >>

Driving at sunset

How to reduce the risk and possible consequence of being dazzled

  • Keep your windscreen clean inside and out
  • Renew wiper blades if worn
  • Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car, but make use of the sun visor too
  • Slow down immediately if dazzled
  • Bear in mind:
    • if the sun is behind you, it's in the eyes of those approaching you
    • if the sun is in your eyes it's probably affecting those following you too
  • Use headlights to help others see you

(Updated October 2014)

 

AA universal bulb kit

Keep your lights shining with the AA Universal Bulb Kit, containing all three types of main headlight bulb.

Keep your lights shining with the AA Universal Bulb Kit