This may be the last weekend to see the spectacular colours of changing Autumn leaves giving way to frosty sparkle on hedges and fields in November. So, take in some of the most beautiful UK scenery from the comfort and safety of your own car.
Whether you decide to venture into the Lake District, the Forest of Dean, Snowdonia National Park, the New Forest or simply a local beauty spot (subject to local Covid-19 restrictions), it’s as well to check the following things on your car before you leave. A trip can be ruined with a breakdown somewhere remote!
Add an in-car picnic, or go for a Covid-safe cosy cottage rental and you have the perfect Autumn moment before the really bad weather sets in.
Before you set out, ensure that your brakes are working well, a good spare tyre is in the boot, a breakdown service membership card in your wallet and a juiced-up mobile phone at your side – and that there are no warning lights showing on your dashboard.
Your car battery
Your car battery has a useful life on average of just three to five years. If it starts coming to the end of its life, more than likely it will give out in the late Autumn and early Winter period when the weather starts to get colder. Get it checked at your local garage and replaced if necessary.
Now that the clocks have gone back, it gets darker earlier, so make sure your headlights, brake and number plate lights are working. Change any broken bulbs or get your local garage or dealership to help you.
Dazzled by the sun?
Late Autumn and early Winter always come with the low afternoon sun, dazzling you without warning. First, ensure you windscreen is clean, that you have sunglasses easily available and replace your wiper blades if you need to. Be prepared to lower your sun visor quickly and take it slowly if you hit a patch of sunlight that blinds you.
Check your tyres before you set off and make sure they have sufficient tread. The legal minimum is 1.6mm but it makes sense to change them before that, especially as winter approaches you need a good grip on slippery roads. This time of year always brings its fair share of rain and leaves, particularly in forested areas – hitting a patch of wet leaves on the road can be almost as bad as driving on an icy stretch of road. If you need new tyres, replace them now before the Winter.
Fog, mist and floods
Be very careful in foggy or misty conditions, especially if you suddenly encounter a patch in the bottom of a valley. Keep your speed down and allow plenty of room between you and the car in front. Use your dipped headlights and fog lights, as a full beam will only cause visibility issues to oncoming cars. Avoid driving through flooded roads or fords as you could easily break down if driving through deep water. Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water as you could get swept away by the current. And check the forecast before you leave home for the areas you intend to visit.
It’ great to see wildlife but keep in mind the creatures safety and slow down giving them the widest possible distance. Expect the unexpected, and at night, drive very slowly where you see animal crossing signs especially in rural areas.
And finally, those drinks tucked up in your cosy cottage might not be completely out of your system first thing in the morning when you venture out to stock up at the nearest supermarket – or to make the most of the late Autumn/early Winter sunshine before midday. No one person is the same and so the effects of even four large glasses of wine or beer the night before could still make your driving less controlled judgement impaired, leaving you at risk of an accident. Do not take any chances, perhaps consider buying a breathalyser like the AlcoSense Excel which is extremely accurate and will help to keep you safe the morning after the night before! It makes an ideal Christmas present, buy it from AMAZON.co.uk