Autumn brings one of the most beautiful times of the year with colourful leaves, a cool crisp air and the first signs of glimmering frost on the trees. But despite the beauty, autumn can be one of the most dangerous times of the year for motorists.
Low, dazzling sun can be one of the most dangerous parts of autumn, with research revealing that accidents due to low sun increase threefold in October. Taking care when the sun is low is one of the most important things you can do.
Fallen leaves piled along the roadside may be a scenic part of autumn, but if those leaves get wet, they can be as big a hazard as a puddle or standing water. If you hit a patch of wet leaves, you can lose traction, and braking and steering may become difficult.
Leaves can also have a devastating effect on the electronics of many modern cars. At this time of year it’s quite common for leaves to accumulate in ‘plenum chambers’ – the tray like area under the bonnet, just below the windscreen. Leaves can block up the drains and cause them to fill with water when it rains which then leak into areas that should be protected from the elements, such as computers which control the engine, braking systems and other electronics.
Trapped water can also make the windows constantly mist up, impairing visibility and reducing safety. So next time the bonnet is up, have a look at these chambers and clear out any leaves and grime that have accumulated, as well as checking your cars components, oils and anti-freeze.
Top Tips for Autumn
1. Keep sunglasses nearby to help shield away low dazzling sun.
2. Keep your windscreen clean and free from smears which will be enhanced by low sun.
3. Treat wet leaves the way you would a water hazard, slowing down and braking and steering carefully.
4. Check your antifreeze ahead of any frosty weather, and stock up on de-icer. Take the time to clean any frost off your windshield so you have full visibility.
5. Make sure your wiper blades, tyres and brakes are all in good working order, as well as your cars batteries, which are often susceptible to problems due to frost.