Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Autumn Driving - Safety First

Autumn can be a lovely time of the year to be a young driver – but there are obvious and hidden dangers to be aware of when taking to the road. 

Picture this - you're driving down a road with an array of trees either side with leaves that are just starting to turn from green to golden brown, it's a glorious sunny day... but the clouds are starting to move in. 

Whilst autumn can be a nice time to be on the road it can also be a hazardous time of the year to drive - especially with the increase in wet weather we've been having in recent years. Cold and wet weather can lead to accidents on the road if you drive carelessly – resulting in potential young driver insurance claims.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has recently put together a useful list of road safety hints and tips to help keep you safe whilst on the road. iKube has also added a few other things to think about when driving during the autumnal season:

1. Did you know that a patch of wet leaves can be as dangerous to drive on as standing water? Well it's true - always take care and reduce your speed before driving over them as leaves can be slippery when wet (ed. there's a Bon Jovi joke in there somewhere...).

2. Cold weather driving - autumn does tend to be a warmer time of the year than winter and really cold days are rare. However, don't discount them - especially in more northern or hilly areas of the UK. Always ensure that you clear your windscreens and windows of ice or condensation before setting off as it can impede your visibility whilst driving.

3. Make sure your heater controls are turned on in wet weather as rain can make your car's windows mist-up in mere seconds.

4. Be aware of strong winds - winds can unsettle your car and even alter your direction of travel. Make sure you have a firm grip on your steering wheel and be aware of other road users - especially motorcyclists and flat-sided vehicles.

5. Use your lights properly - if you're driving in the rain it's strongly advised to put your headlights on so that you are visible on the road and you can see other road users. In addition to this you should aim to turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise (if driving) during the autumn months - this makes it easier for other motorists to see you during twilight.

6. Check your car battery - try to keep the top of the car's battery clean and dry and ensure that the terminals are tight and free from corrosion. IAM recommend that if a battery is more than 3 years old you should check it now as you could save yourself a frustrating start in the morning.

7. Wiper blades - make sure they're in good condition. If your blades squeak whilst wiping they may need replacing. IAM have also suggested that you ensure that your wipers are switched off when you start the car in the morning as you could risk blowing a motor fuse when frost hits.