We never like to see the end of summer here at Kew Vehicle Leasing, but as It’s almost the end of October - well, even we have to admit that summer is well and truly behind us.
And now the weather has turned wetter and colder, the nights are drawing in, and the leaves in Kew Gardens and on Richmond Green are turning to brown, we thought you would welcome some driving advice. Especially as the clocks go back an hour on Sunday. So here’s the Kew Vehicle Leasing guide to driving when the afternoons go dark.
The last Sunday of the month heralds the time when the clocks go back. It might mean an extra hour in bed for some, but it brings fresh challenges for drivers too. And we’re not talking about how to change the clock in your car.
With driving conditions worsening for the next few months at least, it’s a good idea to give your car a bit of attention.
Few of us regularly make sure that all of the car’s lights are working – even if we should. Check to see that they are all illuminated when they should be. Any duff lights and either change them yourself or head straight for your local dealer - if you need help on where to go, you can always call us at Kew Vehicle Leasing on 0203 189 1299.
A good quality screenwash is essential in these worsening weather conditions. You will likely get through the reservoir much faster than during the past six months, so it’s worth a top-up. Equally, a good quality mixture will cut through grime and frost/ice better, keeping the view clearer for longer. Now’s also a good time to check the condition of the wiper blades.
Automatic settings for lights and wipers can get confused by misty and foggy weather. They’re a handy feature, but it’s a good idea to keep on top of them manually as well as letting the car do its thing. Dipped headlights can make a huge difference to letting others see you in the middle of the day if it’s overcast or visibility is poor.
Now is a good time to check you have a few essentials in the car. Should you break down in bad weather, sitting on the verge is not as comfortable an experience it might have been in mid-July. A charging cable/battery pack will save you the agony of a dead phone. It’s worth having a torch, pair of sunglasses for low sunlight, cereal bar, umbrella, and bottle of water packed as well.
Tyres are the only points of contact your car has with the road. As conditions worsen, they can have a huge bearing on how safe your car is. Some will opt for winter tyres, though it’s understandable if not considering the UK’s relative lack of harsh winters. Ensuring there’s good tread depth and they are correctly inflated only takes a few minutes and can make a huge difference to a tyre’s effectiveness. If your tyres need changing and you have a maintenance agreement, then book your car in to get them changed.
Your car is going to be getting dirtier than in recent months. If time’s tight and you aren’t able to keep your pride and joy shiny, there are a few key areas to keep clean. Ensure you regularly wipe down light clusters front and rear, both numberplates, and windows – inside and out. These will make sure that you can both see and be seen clearly.
It’s not just your car that needs a bit of focus. With darker mornings and evenings, there will be pedestrians around that might not be clearly visible. With a natural tendency to feel sleepier after the clocks change, attention levels could well be lower than usual. This is particularly the case in the evenings after a long day at work, it’s wet, dark and your attention isn’t at its peak. Look twice is always good advice.
Research from the National Audit Office shows that serious and fatal pedestrian collisions increase 10% in the first four weeks after the clocks go back.
There are a number of safety groups that advocate against the changes each year, instead preferring the UK to stay at least one hour ahead of GMT, and two hours in the summer.
Whatever your opinions on the clocks changing, it is important that you prepare yourself and your vehicle for the changes that quickly take place over the next few weeks. Driving conditions change, and drivers must change accordingly.
1st of January 2019