The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has called for drivers to take extra care in the riskier driving conditions of autumn. Hitting a patch of wet leaves can be as dangerous as running into standing water, when lower grip can reduce braking and steering. Piles of leaves could be obscuring a pot hole, and with road surface conditions in a poor state after last winter, this is a distinct possibility. Follow this essential advice from IAM Chief Examiner Peter Rodger's on how to maintain your car during the autumn:
- Clear out plenum chambers - the tray-like area under the bonnet, below the windscreen - as they can fill up with water when they get blocked with leaves. This water can seep into the car’s electrics, causing expensive and potentially dangerous damage
- In cold weather, clear windscreens of condensation or ice before setting off. Always give yourself extra time, to ensure visibility is at an optimum before starting your journey.
- Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition. If they squeak as they wipe, they probably need replacing, and always make sure they are turned off before starting the ignition to save the blades and the risk of a blown motor fuse when the first frost hits
- Autumn can also take its toll on car batteries, but some basic maintenance can help to prolong their life. Keep the top of the battery clean and dry and make sure the terminals are tight and free from corrosion. And ensure that the battery itself is mounted securely in its tray. If a battery is more than three-years old, check it now; you might save yourself many a frustrating start to a morning
Autumn is also a time of greater activity in the animal world -it's mating season for deer, and smaller animals will be on the hunt to gather food for the winter hibernation period. If you live in an area where wildlife roam, take extra care, and remember that deer tend to move in groups; if one runs out look for others doing the same and reduce your speed in readiness.