Oh Deer! and Other Autumnal Issues

As this typical British summer begins to draw to a close thoughts of Autumn begin. Although Winter is the big season people prepare for  when is comes to driving there is a great deal in Autumn that people should be aware of to avoid accidents and injury.

Amorous Deer

For those of you who live in rural areas the Autumn brings with it the risk of deer running out into the road even more than usual. For those of you who live in urban areas this may not be something you have come across but should be on your Autumn radar if you are driving in the country. Autumn is what is known as the “rut”, it is when all the male deer start competing for the top spot in their group and the chance to control a harem of females and produce lots more little deer. What tends to happen during this time is that you get a lot of deer running around, mainly male, with little or no care  about anything but women and fighting, any previous fear of the road is all but gone and they just go where they need to, when they need too.

Hitting a fully grown stag in a car is not only likely to cause enormous damage to your car but could also cause serious damage to you and your passengers too. It is wise to take extra care when driving at dusk and dawn but also during the night when in rural areas. But be aware Deer live in many suburban areas too, if there are a few open spaces of grassland and a bit of woodland it may well be enough for a small herd and could mean you see them where you may not think. The best way to drive is simply just a bit slower, be prepared to see something come out of the hedge or tree along the edge of the road, that is not to suggest you drive a 20 mph but certainly slow down if you see deer warning signs and shaving 5-10 mph off when going through a wood for example might not be a bad idea.

Leaves On The Line

Some years ago a number of train delays were very famously blamed on too many leaves on the tracks, this led to many pages of press abuse and claims that leaves could never be an issue. Well, perhaps it’s different for trains but for cars leaves covering a wet road is certainly an issue and it should be something drivers are prepared for. As the leaves fall from the trees they can create whole sections of road that have less grip than normal surfaces. As the leaves then decay things can get even worse, throw in some frost patches and you have a very good recipe for a skid. Good tyres, as always, will help you keep the car under control as will wonderful inventions like ABS and traction control but there is no substitute for being prepared. If you are driving a long and notice masses of leaves all over the road there is no need to take sudden action, but it may be wise to slow down a little and once again, just be aware the amount of time it will take to stop will be longer. It is also worth remembering the speeds at which you can take a corner safely may change, a corner covered in leaves will certainly be a slippery one so slow down, do not just assume you can whizz round your favourite little turn just like you do normally, you may find things all go rather wrong rather quickly.

Weather

Because Britain often has wet summers most drivers are used to driving on wet roads, but do remember as the temperature drops the water stays around a lot more and the volume of water can get much higher and subsequent puddles deeper. There will be some frosts on the way for those early risers and this can be a really nasty surprise if you didn’t check the weather the night before. Autumn is also a time for high winds, driving in windy conditions is not something to panic about but once again it is something to be aware of and a simple decrease in speed is advisable, especially when driving higher riding vehicles like SUVs, they may be great for rough terrain but in high winds they can be tricky.

The best advice is to just be aware things are changing on the roads, from rampaging animals to wet and windy days the Autumn brings its challenges just like any other season, there is nothing to be terrified of, just to be prepared for.