Dated: 26 Sep, 2023
As we leave the Summer months and begin to head into Autumn, different hazards will be present when out on the roads.
Vulnerable Road Users
Cyclists and motorcyclists will still be out despite the dropping temperatures and visibility. It is imperative you observe your surroundings as cyclists/motorcyclists will be harder to spot in the dark and or rain. Being aware of, and respecting, these vulnerable road users is an important part of safe motoring.
The summer holidays are now over so you will see a lot more children - especially during school opening and closing times. Slow down and pay very careful attention in residential and school zones, especially where the speed limit is set at 20 mph. Schoolkids are easily distracted, and don’t always pay much attention to traffic. Always be alert - it could save lives!
Pedestrians. With the temperatures dropping, visibility dropping and the chance of poor weather, pedestrians may not be as easy to spot as before, and they may also act more unpredictably if they are in a rush to get out of the elements. It is important you are always scanning and observing your surroundings.
Weather / Lighting
The Weather. As we all know, the only predictable thing about the UK's weather - is that it is unpredictable. Rainfall may begin to be more present and can lead to many added hazards, such as increased stopping distances, less control, possible aquaplanning and reduced visibility. Ensure your tyres are legal, that you double your separation distance in rainfall and that your wipers are in working order. It is also not unheard of for the UK to have snow during the Autumn months, so prepare for Winter driving before the Winter months arrive. Make sure you have de-icer, a scraper, warm clothing, anti-freeze solution (or winter ready screen wash) and make sure your phone is fully charged should you need to contact anybody in an emergency.
Lighting. The Autumn months can bring a mixed bag of lighting issues whilst driving. You may have noticed the need to use your sun visors during typical commuting times. With the sun being a factor during busy periods on the road, you must ensure your windscreen is clear and clean, and your screen wash is kept topped up. You also need to make sure your washers and wipers are in working order. The days will also have progressively less sunlight, meaning there is more chance you will find yourself driving in the dark. Although it will not be as dark as the winter months, you need to ensure all your lights are clearly visible and in working order. It is an offence to drive without functioning lights.
Dazzling. This time of year there is a chance you will be dazzled by either headlights or sunlight. As mentioned before, take time to clear and clean your windscreen to reduce the effects of glare. If you are dazzled whislt driving, slow down to a safe speed and pull over if necessary (when safe to do so). Do not attempt to drive whilst covering your eyes or squinting, keep both hands on the wheel and adjust your speed until you find a safe place to pull over.
The Environment. You will notice a lot more debris on the roads, such as leaves as the seasons are changing. This can affect your grip if they stick and bulk up on your wheels so be aware and always stick to a safe and sensible speed. Falling leaves are also another reason to ensure your wipers are in working order as you do not want your windscreen covered in leaves with no way to remove them.
To keep yourself and others safe in Autumn, make sure that:
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