Check out our latest magazine... Read Online

Are You Ready For Autumn Driving Conditions?

National Highways is encouraging drivers to be prepared before they travel by carrying out checks to ensure their vehicle is ready for the damp, cold and foggy conditions which will likely arrive this autumn.  

National Highways has also introduced a handy guide called TRIP to help motorists prepare for their journey. Topping up anti-freeze in your car and checking your tyres are inflated to the correct air pressure are just two important things you can do to prepare for driving this autumn.   

And there are lots of travel tips and advice for negotiating severe weather on the National Highways website to help improve driver confidence when travelling as temperatures get colder, the nights draw in, low-lying sun hampers vision, and the potential for fog, rain and high winds increase.  

Andy Butterfield, Customer Services Director for Operations at National Highways, said:

“The transition from summer to autumn brings changing road conditions and we all need to be aware of this, and adapt accordingly.  

“Weather conditions vary considerably throughout the year and sometimes change very quickly. To keep safe when travelling on our network, it's important to adjust the way you drive and prepare for travelling in different and changing weather situations.  

“It’s always a good idea to plan your journey in advance which is particularly important if you are travelling on routes you are not familiar with.” 

Checking the weather forecast before you travel can help you determine whether it might be worth delaying a journey if bad weather is forecast or at the very least to understand the traffic conditions. There is lots of advice on our website dedicated to travelling safely in different weathers. 

National Highways works closely with the Met Office on weather forecasting throughout the year to help inform all road users of changing traffic conditions.  

Abigail Oakes, Senior Account Manager at the Met Office said:

"As we move through autumn, the weather tends to be wetter and windier more often, making travel disruption more likely. To stay safe, it’s important to use the time when the weather is good to make sure you are prepared and your vehicle is ready for autumn and winter travel. Keep up-to-date with the forecast especially in times of severe weather. Be aware of any weather warnings and follow any local advice.” 

September and October can prove problematic for motorists when glare from the lower lying autumn sun could be an issue, or perhaps where daytime drivers will need to use their headlights and fog lights for the first time in months. There is also the hazard of fallen leaves on wet, slippery and frosty roads which can cause a skid hazard.  

With potential for hard frost and ice to come in the months ahead, it is timely to ensure your vehicle’s antifreeze levels are good. Ask a mechanic to top them up if necessary. Also check your battery is in good working order as damp conditions can have an adverse effect on its performance.  

Ground frost on the road reduces traction, so reduce your speed and avoid hard braking or abrupt acceleration, while frost on your windscreen must be cleared to give you full visibility, so keep de-icer in the car, allow more time in the morning to clear it, or keep a sheet on the windscreen overnight as it gets colder.  

National Highways monitors road conditions comprehensively as we move into October and throughout the developing autumn and winter period to respond and treat the roads once they drop below zero degrees and when ice forms, later on in the season.   

Autumn is also the time to pack a seasonal kit of important items to be ready for any unforeseen traffic delays or vehicle breakdown.   

Be autumn ready on the roads using TRIP 

 National Highways first introduced TRIP this summer to help motorists and passengers prepare for their journeys. 

Starting with Top-up, it sets out the measures drivers need to take to make their car road ready. 

Top-up: Fuel, oil and screenwash highlights some of the basic vehicle checks you can carry out at home. Ensure your car is fully charged if driving an electric vehicle. 

It’s really important to check your fuel level, water level and oil level before embarking on a long trip. 

Second in the series is Rest, which sets out the measures drivers should take to ensure they and their passengers are not fatigued on their journey, running the risk of accidents. Recent stats suggest one in 20 accidents are caused by fatigue. 

Rest: take regular comfort breaks encourages people to be well rested ahead of their journey and not under the influence of alcohol, and to plan the journey, identifying places to stop for a break during your journey. 

Third in the series is Inspect, which sets out the measures drivers should take to ensure their vehicle tyres are in good condition for the trip ahead. 

Inspect: check tyre pressure and tread focusses on some simple things you can do at home to care for your tyres.  

In terms of tyre tread, the legal minimum tread depth for car tyres in the UK is 1.6mm. If you don’t have this much tread on your tyres it can affect steering, grip and braking distance on the road. 

At the same time, it is worth checking your vehicle lights are working too – side lights, indicators, brakes and full lights and replace bulbs where necessary. 

Headlights, taillights or brake lights not working will make it harder for you to see and be seen by others in the dark, rain and fog. 

Keep windows and lights clean. Dirt and salt deposits can quickly build up so ensure windows and lights are clean before your journey and that you have enough,  screenwash to keep your windscreen clear throughout your journey. 

Prepare is the final letter in the acronym, which sets out the measures drivers should take to ensure they have covered for all eventualities for the trip ahead. 

Prepare: have a plan for all weathers encourages drivers and their passengers to take seasonal kits with them on their journey so they have provisions in the event of hold ups and traffic jams. 

It starts with checking the weather forecasts before setting out on route with the Met Office providing accurate and reliable forecasts both regionally and nationally. 

During severe weather events, drivers are advised to follow messages on the overhead signs and listen to radio updates.   

Explore more online:  

National Highways has lots of advice on its website around travelling in severe weather conditions, including high winds and gales, fog, rain and snow and ice. Visit our travelling in severe weather web page.  

Weather forecasts and information can be found on the Met Office website here.   

Travel information can be found by visiting National Highways’ Travel updates page, and by following @highwaysnwest @highwaysneast @highwaysseast @highwaysswest @highwayseast @highwayswmids, @highwaysemids @highwaysyorks on X, formerly Twitter or calling the National Highways Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.  

More from Lifestyle

  • Five Of The Greatest Rollercoasters In The World

    Across the globe, amusement parks compete to offer the most thrilling and unforgettable coaster experiences. Let's take a thrilling ride through five of the greatest rollercoasters that stand as testaments to innovation, engineering prowess, and pure adrenaline-fueled fun:

  • Five Of The Most Unique Pastries Worldwide

    Pastries, with their delicate layers, exquisite fillings, and intricate designs, are beloved treats enjoyed across the globe. While many are familiar with classics like croissants, éclairs, and baklava, the world of pastries extends far beyond these well-known delights. From the streets of Tokyo to the cafes of Paris, let's embark on a delectable journey to discover five of the most unique pastries that tantalize taste buds and ignite culinary curiosity:

  • Be Well, Move Happy: Gardening & Connecting with Nature

    Spring is a wonderful time of year to get out and enjoy our natural world. Sara Whatley looks at connecting with nature for wellness and gardening for fitness

  • Five Countryside Locations Perfect For Warmer Weather

    As the temperature rises and the sun begins to shine (just about!), there's no better time to explore the picturesque British countryside. From rolling hills to serene lakeshores, the UK boasts an abundance of natural beauty waiting to be discovered. If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature, here are five British countryside locations perfect for warmer weather:

  • Five Of The Most Unique Cakes Worldwide

    Cakes are more than just desserts; they are edible works of art that reflect culture, tradition, and innovation. While classic cakes like chocolate and vanilla remain timeless favourites, there exists a world of cakes that push the boundaries of creativity and taste. From intricate designs to unusual ingredients, here are five of the most unique cakes from around the globe:

Get Social