September 9, 2014

5 tips to avoid car accidents as autumn approaches

For motorists, the changing seasons pose different challenges; in the summer holidays, there is increased traffic on our roads and motorways to contend with, and an influx of tourists means lots more people walking or cycling both in the cities and the countryside. Now, as summer turns to autumn, and the nights inevitably draw in, sudden stormy weather and poor visibility can make driving more hazardous.

As personal injury lawyers regularly dealing with consequences of road traffic accidents, we know only too well which obvious and not-so-obvious factors can make driving dangerous. Here are some simple checks to make before starting out on your journey which will not only help you have a smooth drive but may also help prevent an accident:

1. Road surfaces can become greasy when it rains after a prolonged hot spell, so drive according to the conditions and remember your braking distances (a refresher of the Highway Code is recommended).

2. Be prepared for low or bright sunlight in the mornings and evenings or sudden glare from the sun emerging from clouds; have sunglasses to hand and make sure prescription glasses/sunglasses are up-to-date.

3. An insect-covered windscreen can obscure your vision, particularly in bright sunlight or sudden downpours; make sure you clean your windscreen before you set off on a journey rather than try to do it mid-journey when you might smear your windscreen and reduce your visibility further.

4. Check all your vehicle lights are working, and don’t be afraid to use your headlights in the daytime when the sun is out or low in the sky, as displaying headlights can help oncoming vehicles see you more clearly.

5. Check your tyre tread depths – most people don’t realise tyres wear down quicker in the summer when the tyre rubber is soft so has less grip as you’re driving.

Remember that motor vehicles share roads with many others including cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders, who all have a duty to know the Highway Code and be aware of each other as legitimate road users. As the often more maligned car driver, you can help to prevent injury to yourself or someone else just by following these simple tips.

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