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Prepare yourself and your Motability vehicle for the changing weather with our top tips for safe driving this autumn.
Bristol Street Motors

Tips for Driving Your Motability Vehicle Safely This Autumn

Tips for Driving Your Motability Vehicle Safely This Autumn

  • The autumn season brings several changes in weather, meaning more challenging driving conditions.
  • It’s important to make sure you are prepared for these changes, to keep you and other road users safe.
  • When driving in rain, fog, or ice, you’ll need to slow down, take extra precautions, and increase your distance from the vehicle in front.
  • Our autumn driving checklist will make sure both you and your vehicle are prepared to take on the autumn weather.


As we head into the autumn season, we’re in for a few changes. From falling leaves to clocks going back, with the changing weather comes new driving conditions.

Whether you’re an experienced driver or are newer to the roads, in this article we remind you of all you need to know for safe driving this autumn.


Driving at night-time

Other than falling leaves, the darker nights coming in are one of the earliest signs of autumn. After Halloween, the clocks go back one hour meaning shorter days and darker nights.

For many, this can feel slightly new after getting used to light nights in the summer. If it’s been a while since you’ve driven in the dark, we recommend getting out on a short drive when it starts to get dark to help you re-adjust.

When driving in the dark, it’s important to make sure your vehicle’s headlights are on. You should turn on your dipped headlights an hour before sunset and keep them on until an hour after sunrise. This will help make sure you can be seen at all times during the night.

For country roads, you’ll need to use main beam headlights as these are often unlit. Make sure to switch back to dipped headlights at the first sign of an oncoming car, to avoid dazzling other drivers.


Driving in fog

Along with snow and ice, fog is one of the things you don’t like to see when opening your curtains on a morning.

But fog is increasingly common in damp weather as the temperature begins to drop. Driving in it can be unpleasant with your visibility restricted all around.

Remember how to switch on your fog lights? You’ll need to if you have to drive in foggy conditions. The Highway Code instructs you to use these when visibility is reduced to under 100 metres so that other vehicles can see you.

It’s important to turn your fog lights off once visibility improves, as they can confuse or dazzle other drivers in clearer conditions. You can also be fined for leaving these on if caught by the police.

Fog can be particularly hazardous when approaching junctions where you can’t see the flow of traffic. Here, you’ll need to roll down your window and listen for traffic where you can’t see it.

Make sure to emerge only when you are sure there is no oncoming traffic and commit to your decision.

When fog freezes, this can turn into black ice, which can be extremely slippery and dangerous. To avoid the risk of skidding, reduce your vehicle’s speed and take your time.


Driving in heavy rain

Autumn showers are common at this time of year, and they often tend to be heavy. Plus, with prolonged periods of rain things can get really problematic with surface water and flooding.

Turn on your windscreen wipers when driving in the rain to make sure you can see clearly. You’ll need to take extra care when driving through large puddles as well, maintaining a low gear and a slow speed. Other things you should do when driving through water include:

  • Testing your brakes gently after emerging from large puddles in the road
  • Not restarting your engine if it cuts out after driving through deep water. Instead, pull over with your hazard warning lights on and call RAC Motability Assist.

With heavy rain sometimes comes high winds, and you’ll need to be aware of these too. High winds can cause your vehicle to sway slightly on the road, so keep your hands held tightly on the steering wheel and reduce your speed.

Be careful when overtaking high-sided vehicles like trucks. These can be particularly unstable in windy conditions.


Driving in mist in autumn


Beware of glare

In the autumn and winter months, you’ll notice the sun is a lot lower when driving which can obstruct your view. That’s why it’s good to keep sunglasses in your glovebox and pull down your sun visor when needed.

Keep your windscreen and windows clean to avoid glare when the sun shines through. You should also avoid looking directly into the sunlight or oncoming vehicles as this could dazzle your eyes.


Being mindful when driving in autumn

Practising mindful driving can be the difference between a safe journey and an accident. There are a few things you can do in general as a driver to ensure your safety and that of others.

With all those fallen leaves lying around, things can be easily obscured – like road markings and potholes. We recommend driving at a lower speed so you have plenty of time to anticipate anything in the road ahead.

You’ll also need to watch out for more vulnerable road users like children, cyclists, and pedestrians who may be crossing near you on the road. This is especially important at nighttime if these road users are not wearing reflective clothing.

We also tend to see more animals in and around the roads in the autumn, such as rabbits, foxes, or hedgehogs on their way to hibernation.

Keep your eyes on the road at all times so you can spot any potential hazards on the road, and always make sure to follow speed limits.

Now you know what to keep in mind when driving this autumn, use our helpful autumn driving checklist to make sure you’re prepared.


Autumn driving checklist

  • Give your car a health check: Check your car’s tyres to make sure they are correctly inflated, and top up any fluids like oil, anti-freeze, and screen wash. Make sure your windscreen wipers are in working order too.
  • Watch your speed: If the weather conditions are not good and dry, drive slower than you normally would, as stopping distances will increase.
  • Take care of vulnerable road users: Look out for cyclists, bikers, pedestrians, children, and animals. Adhere to all speed limits and be vigilant when driving through residential areas.
  • Get familiar with your fog lights: Make sure you know how to operate your fog lights and the differences between settings. Test these to make sure they are working and remember to switch them off after visibility improves.
  • Clear and good to go: Allow plenty of time on frosty mornings for condensation to clear from your vehicle’s windows. Use your demisters or air conditioning to clear condensation and only set off when you’re confident you can see clearly.
  • De-ice your vehicle on frosty mornings: On frostier mornings, your vehicle may be covered in ice. Only de-ice your windscreen and windows using de-icer and a scraper. Do not use boiling water as this could crack your windscreen.
  • Rest up: Do not drive when you are tired as this can pose a risk to yourself and other road users. Get plenty of sleep before taking on a longer journey and take rest breaks if you start to feel drowsy.
  • Fuel up and power up: Always make sure you have enough fuel or charge before each journey. Make sure your phone is fully charged incase you need to call for help should anything happen.
  • Get an eye test: When was the last time you had your eyes checked? If it’s been over two years or you’ve noticed a change recently, book an eye test and make sure you’re wearing the right glasses.
  • Pack an emergency kit: Pack torches, blankets, warm clothing, and a medical kit in case of an emergency so you’re prepared. This will help you stay warm if you end up stranded in the cold.


Motability at Bristol Street Motors

We hope you’ve found this article useful and feel ready to take on the changing weather!

Is your lease coming to an end? It’s never too early to start thinking about your next Motability vehicle. Browse our latest stock today and see what catches your eye.

Read our article on switching from manual to automatic if you’re thinking of making a change.

If you have any questions about your lease or need help finding your next vehicle, get in touch with an expert from our team. We’ll be happy to give you a call!

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