Met Office warns motorists to ‘adjust’ their driving habits in autumn

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Autumn has arrived and is set to bring colder temperatures and shorter days along with it. As a result, road users are being urged to be prepared before they travel and to make sure their car is up to scratch as the weather changes.

September and October can in particular prove problematic for motorists when glare from the lower lying autumn sun could be an issue, or perhaps where daytime drivers will need to use their headlights and fog lights for the first time in months. 

There is also the hazard of fallen leaves on wet, slippery and frosty roads which can cause a skid hazard.

Another key feature which may be overlooked by many drivers is to top up the anti-freeze.

It helps protect the car from unwanted damage to radiators and other components and lowers the freezing point of the water found in the engine’s cooling systems.

With the potential for hard frost and ice to come in the months ahead, it is timely to ensure the vehicle’s antifreeze levels are good. 

Andy Butterfield, Customer Services Director for Operations at National Highways, said: “The transition from summer to autumn brings changing road conditions and we all need to be aware of this and adapt accordingly.

“Weather conditions vary considerably throughout the year and sometimes change very quickly. 

“To keep safe when travelling on our network, it’s important to adjust the way you drive and prepare for travelling in different and changing weather situations.

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“It’s always a good idea to plan your journey in advance which is particularly important if you are travelling on routes you are not familiar with.

“Checking the weather forecast before you travel can help you determine whether it might be worth delaying a journey if bad weather is forecast or at the very least to understand the traffic conditions. 

“There is lots of advice on our website dedicated to travelling safely in different weathers.”

Drivers are also being advised to carry out routine checks of their vehicles while it is parked at home.

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This is to help drivers familiarise themselves with the car controls including the fog light and hazard warning light and ensure your windscreen water tank is topped up and the wiper blades are in good condition.

Ground frost on the road reduces traction, so drivers should lower their speed and avoid hard braking or abrupt acceleration.

Motorists are also being warned of frost, which must be cleared from windscreens to give them full visibility.

This will also reduce the risk of a serious accident on the road, and could help drivers avoid fines from the police.

A spokesperson for the Met Office urged drivers to check the forecast before they leave to ensure they are safe when on the roads.

They added: “As we move through autumn, the weather tends to be wetter and windier more often, making travel disruption more likely. 

“To stay safe, it’s important to use the time when the weather is good to make sure you are prepared and your vehicle is ready for autumn and winter travel. 

“Keep up-to-date with the forecast, especially in times of severe weather. Be aware of any weather warnings and follow any local advice.”

National Highways monitors road conditions comprehensively in October and the developing autumn and winter period to respond and treat the roads once they drop below zero degrees and when ice forms, later on in the season.

Autumn is also the time to pack a seasonal kit of important items to be ready for any unforeseen traffic delays or vehicle breakdown.

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