Preparing for Autumn driving in Scotland

It is clear the nights are ‘fair drawing in’ as we enter the autumn season. It is getting darker earlier and the weather is getting cooler which in turn creates more risk for road users.

Increased agricultural activity in autumn which sees more tractors using local roads and changing driving conditions, mean that in order to remain safe drivers need to be alert at all times to vehicles in front and behind.

With this in mind, we urge drivers to be prepared when driving this autumn and to plan ahead to avoid being caught out.

1. Avoid low sun when driving

Autumn is a particularly bad season for dazzle from low sun which can cause an accident if you are not fully prepared.

  • Improve vision by making sure your windscreen is clean inside and out.
  • Keep a pair of sunglasses for the daytime
  • If you are dazzled by the sun, slow down.

Bear in mind that if the sun is behind you, it will be in the eyes of those approaching you. If the sun is in your eyes, it is probably affecting those in front and behind you too.

2. Be prepared for changing weather conditions in Autumn

Autumn can be a damp and wet season. There are many rainy or foggy days and nights. As the temperatures drop, frost can often coat the ground at night. What can you do to be prepared for changing weather conditions?

  • Switch on headlights and fog lamps if visibility is reduced
  • Reduce your speed and keep it down
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front
  • Watch out for black ice
  • Avoid braking hard on wet slippery leaves.

3. Be aware of others on the road

When using smaller roads, it is important to remember that there may be others on the road and they might appear without warning.

  • Watch out for animals that may wander out onto the road
  • Reduce your speed for deer warning signs. A pair of small flickering reflections on the road can hint at the location of an animal.

4. Check your vehicle

As the weather changes, it can affect certain parts of your car. If any part of your vehicle isn't running right, you may be putting yourself and others at risk by getting behind the wheel.

  • Check your battery - batteries usually last 5 years and are more likely to break down in colder weather conditions. It's also a good idea to purchase a pair of jump leads just in case
  • Check your bulbs every few weeks, and remember to check your brake lights and number plate lights 
  • Check your tyre pressure and for signs of wear - be sure to get them checked or purchase new ones if need be
  • Ensure your wiper blades are in good working condition, as autumn often brings heavy rain
  • Defrost your car and keep a bottle of anti-free in your vehicle - ice can be very dangerous.

Please be careful on the roads this autumn. Remember to keep your speed down, drive safely and ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. Be prepared for other vehicles, the changing weather and animals on the road as well to make sure you get home safely.