Low sun and dirty windscreens

Dirty windscreen
Dirty windscreen
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Autumn is here and it’s time to prepare the car for the colder days ahead.

It might seem like there’s not much to do to prepare you and your car for the autumn. But with leafy days, comes low sun.

According to the Department for Transport figures, twenty-three people died in a crash because of dazzling sun in 2010. The dazzling sun is incredibly distracting so it’s important to take some precautions beforehand. While it may seem obvious, try to make sure you keep a good pair of sunglasses in your glove compartment.

If the sun makes it difficult to see, slow down. Be aware that if the sun is behind you, it’s in the eyes of oncoming drivers who may not see you. Low sun can dazzle you through your mirrors so be ready to dip the mirror and check over your shoulder for vehicles in your blind spot.

As the days get shorter, remember to turn on your headlights before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise so that it’s easier for drivers to see you in twilight.

Low sun will highlight scratches and grime so clean your windows inside and out.

Clear out the plenum chambers, the tray-like area under the bonnet, below the windscreen. They can fill up with water when it gets blocked with leaves. The water then seeps into the car’s electrics, causing expensive and potentially dangerous damage.

Remember that leaves can be slippery, especially when wet. Avoid hard acceleration or braking as it can cause skidding. Be aware that there may be a dip, pothole or other road hazards hiding under the leaves covering the road.

As it gets further into autumn and the temperature drops, clear your windscreens of condensation or ice before setting off. Always give yourself extra time to ensure you can see though your windows clearly before starting your journey.

Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition. If they squeak as they wipe, it’s likely that they need replacing. Make sure they are turned off before starting the ignition to save the blades and the risk of a blown motor fuse when the frost hits.

Autumn takes its toll on car batteries. Keep the top of the battery clean and dry. Make sure the terminals are tight and free of corrosion.

If a battery is more than three years old, check it now, you may start saving yourself many a frustrating start to a morning.

For more information on planning your holiday driving, check out drivingadvice.org.uk, for traffic updates, weather forecasts, and driving tips, including: driving abroad, cycling and loading the car for a long journey.

The IAM has launched a new website, for biking advice and tips with traffic updates, touring advice by country and all you need to know about events and local groups. Tips cover riding with pillions, in groups and night riding. There’s also a videos page and you can upload your touring photos and stories - get involved at www.betterbiking.org.uk.