The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) has issued a warning to all drivers about the dangers of driving in the autumn.
To help minimise accidents, it has highlighted five common problems motorists are likely to encounter at this time of year.
Although most motorists appreciate how hazardous it can be to drive in snow and ice, many – especially new drivers – can get caught out by the deteriorating conditions that lead up to winter.
The DIA says there are five vital factors to consider when driving at this time of year.
Don’t get dazzled
The days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky, so there’s more chance you’ll be dazzled by it at this time of year. Minimise this by ensuring your windscreen is clean and your screen wash is topped up regularly.
Chips, cracks and scratches on the screen will worsen the dazzle effect, so contact your insurer to see if you’re covered for free windscreen repairs.
Be aware of deceptive puddles
Heavy rainfall and leaves covering drains can result in a lot of standing water on the roads. Watch out for puddles that appear to be shallow but are filling a pothole – particularly common on UK roads at the moment.
Leaves can create lots of problems
As well as blocking drains, leaves can also cover road markings, making it difficult to judge junctions. They’re also extremely slippery when it’s wet, so take care when driving through heavily-wooded areas.
Think about how wind affects your surroundings
If you’ve driven on an open stretch of road or over a bridge when it’s windy, you’ll know how much your car can be buffeted about. High-sided vehicles are even more prone to side-winds, so take car when overtaking lorries and vans.
Don’t get stuck in the mud
Be careful if you’re driving along narrow lanes and need to pull on to a grass verge – it might have been okay to pull over to let an oncoming car through a few weeks ago, but you could get bogged down in mud if there has been recent heavy rainfall.
If you want more advice on how to tackle roads during winter, read our driving in snow tips.