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Goodbye autumn leaves

It may seem a little late to be discussing autumn weather but with the impact of the Indian summer, all of the seasons have been pushed back a spell. Many of us will be taking to the road this week on the daily commute. Here are some tips to prepare drivers and riders on this late leaf falling season from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Check your motor battery.  In winter we often place a strain on the battery with lights, heated screens, seats and the air conditioner to demist and keep us warm and if there is any sign of your car battery struggling now, it is likely it will let you down as it gets colder.
  • That low winter sun can be an issue. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car and also make use of the sun visor too. If you are dazzled slow down immediately.
  • Now is the time to check your antifreeze levels. The good thing about antifreeze is that it contains additives that prevent corrosion and improve summer cooling too. 
  • Top up the windscreen washer with de-icing additive.
  • Check your windshield wipers. If they begin to blur the front/ rear window, it’s time to replace them with new ones.
  • Have a look at your car headlights. It is dangerous for you and for the other road users if your lights do not work properly.
  • Leaves or pine needles on the road can turn into a mushy film which obscures potholes, road markings and increases stopping distance. Anticipate problems when you approach woods and trees and slow down until the road is clear

Richard said: “As the temperature drops your car is a nice cosy place to be when it is working properly and sound preparation will help your journey go smoothly. Frosty mornings and falling leaves might be picturesque but they can cause all sorts of problems, particularly for two-wheeled road users. Give motorcyclists and cyclists more room and anticipate their actions. Drivers also need to stay alert for blocked drains and localised flooding at this time of year. Your aim should always be to have a clear view of the changing seasons around you and for other road users to be able to see you.”

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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