Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Think sunlight, leaves and deer – tips to stay safe on the roads this autumn

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is calling on drivers to take extra care as we head into autumn.

The changing seasons mean that motorists are likely to face more challenging conditions on the roads and need to adjust how they drive.

Intervention and Incident Reduction Officer Dan Channon leads on road safety for East Sussex Fire and Rescue. He said: “With our partners in the other emergency services, we get called to a wide variety of incidents and many where drivers have failed to take the changing road conditions into account. Autumn poses some unique challenges for all road users in relation to the light, weather and road surface conditions.

“At all times, our advice is to drive according to the road conditions. Avoid distractions and always wear a seat belt. You are 50% more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you are not wearing one.”

Here are our tips for dealing with the main autumn challenges on the road.  


Autumnal sunrises and sunsets can be very brilliant. The bright sun often creates a large amount of glare, making it difficult to see other vehicles, the roadway or kerbs. Wearing sunglasses during these times reduces these dangers.

You should also make sure you avoid dazzling other motorists by keeping your headlights cleaned, in proper working order and by making sure they are correctly aligned.

In the autumn there are fewer hours of daylight and it is more difficult to see what’s going on around you. Stay alert for people walking, jogging or cycling. Watch out for children at their bus stops in the morning and as they return home in the afternoon. Halloween is still some time away but when it arrives, take special care as there may be more children out and about. They may be wearing masks or costumes that limit their vision and visibility.


Wet leaves can be just as slippery and treacherous for motorists as driving on ice – and when the temperature drops below zero, they will freeze reducing the car’s traction. Slow down to avoid skidding and allow yourself plenty of room to stop in an emergency, much more than you would in normal conditions.

Other leaf-related tips:

  • Leaves cover the painted road markings, making it difficult to know the locations of the lanes and where there are potholes or bumps so drive more slowly and pay extra attention.
  • They can get stuck under windscreen wipers so clear any leaves before you set off. Replace your wiper blades if they show any signs of wear.
  • Watch out for children who may be playing in piles of leaves on or by the sides of roads.
  • Never park your vehicle over a pile of leaves – that way you can reduce the chance of a fire from the exhaust system or catalytic converter

If you live in an area where there are deer, they are more apt to run into/across the road especially at dawn and dusk since the autumn is an active breeding time for them. If you see a deer cross the road, go very slowly as they often travel in groups.

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