NFU Mutual

Autumn motoring

Article

Autumn motoring safety tips

The changing of the seasons brings fresh challenges for motorists

People often nominate the winter months as the most difficult time for motorists, but do not underestimate the challenges that autumn brings. Rapidly changing weather conditions and other factors can test the mettle of even the most experienced motorist.

Autumn months can bring heavy rain and even thunderstorms and our recent survey shows that heavy rain was nominated by 36% of motorists as something that makes them anxious when driving.

We have put together the following advice for motorists to help them steer clear of problems during this autumn: 

  • Heavy rain and thunderstorms can happen suddenly, and motorists need to adapt their driving quickly. Slow down and turn on your fog lights if the visibility deteriorates markedly                     
  • Be wary of slippery roads - fallen leaves on the road can be treacherous in wet conditions. Slow down when you approach corners and generally make sure you're driving carefully enough to deal with hidden surprises.

It is also useful to carry out some basic checks during the autumn to make sure the vehicle is ready to face colder temperatures and the potential for a sudden cold snap as we get closer to winter:  

  • Have a mechanic assess your electrical system - wetter weather coupled with cold mornings can cause problems for batteries, spark plugs and leads. It’s also a good idea to have your brakes checked at the same time                                                                
  • Check your tyres — worn tyres won't be able to cope with wet slippery roads so make sure you have adequate tread of at least 1.6mm across the full surface of the tyre 
  • Check your windscreen wipers and washer fluid - wipers are likely to have been used less during the summer and if they are worn it could reduce visibility. Falling leaves and other material may cause a build-up of debris so ensuring you're topped up on screen wash is important  
  • Autumn is a busy time in the farming calendar so be prepared for slow moving traffic on rural roads. Be patient when behind a tractor, keep plenty of room in front of your vehicle and only overtake when it is safe to do so.  

Other autumn motoring tips include: 

  • Be aware of the potential to overloaded batteries - the more frequent use of heating, lighting and wiper use puts extra demand on car batteries. If your wiper motor is sluggish or lights appear dim, then your battery may need replacing           
  • Air inlets clear - leaves can find their way in and cause engines to overheat. If your windscreen keeps steaming up, take a look at the inlets below the windscreen wipers and under the bonnet and remove any debris                                                              
  • Remember Halloween and Bonfire Night are autumn events - watch out for children suddenly running out into the road and try not to stare up into the sky watching fireworks when driving. 

 Dave Rossall, Motor Claims Manager at the NFU Mutual said: 

Being aware of the impact autumnal wet weather can have on road conditions could make the difference between a safe trip and one that ends in an accident. If I could choose just one thing for motorists to do this autumn to help reduce the number of road accidents, it would be to slow down when conditions deteriorate.

Did you know?

Car owners who take out NFU Mutual’s motor insurance policy will also receive roadside assistance from the RAC should they breakdown more than a quarter of a mile from their home and the total recovery distance is under 20 miles.

Find out more about our motor insurance.