By Emma Dodd
With the caravan season starting late this year and some sites deciding to stay open for longer, 2020 might represent the first time you’ve experienced an autumn caravan break. Great – there’s loads of really rewarding elements to going away at this time of the year, but there are also additional safety considerations to bear in mind.
Set off early
Driving in the dark is more dangerous than in daylight, so it’s best to avoid completing your journey late in the day. In the autumn months, light starts to fade more quickly and from October 25th, the clocks change, giving us all shorter days. Set off with plenty of time to get to your destination before darkness falls, factoring in a couple of extra hours in case something unexpected delays your journey.
Check your tyres
There’s a reason that October is Tyre Safety Month and that’s because it’s even more important your tyres are in good shape at this time of the year. This means checking the tread and the pressure before you set off, and ensuring this is done on both your caravan and towing vehicle.
Be glare aware
Keep your windscreen clean to reduce the effects of glare when the sun is low in the sky and stash a pair of sunglasses in the glove compartment of your car. While the sun visor can help to counteract glare, additional measures will help to keep you and your family safe.
Keep an emergency kit in the car
Breaking down at the side of the road is no fun at any time of the year, but it can have extra complications in the autumn. Keep an emergency kit somewhere handy so you can grab it quickly and ensure the whole family is away from the vehicles while you’re waiting for assistance. As well as a warning triangle, hi-vis vest and torch, make sure you’ve got water and warm clothes to keep everyone comfortable.
Look out for leaves
Those beautiful brown and golden leaves that make autumn so picturesque can also represent a hazard. Clear them away from your caravan and car before departure, paying particular attention to the scuttle area beneath the windscreen, as loose leaves here can become attached to your wiper blades. Be aware of fallen leaves on the road that could obscure markings or hazards, as well as wet ones that can cause tyres to skid.
Reduce your speed
Excessive rainfall and areas of frost on the road are more common in autumn than in the summer months, so it’s worth being alert to these. Generally reducing your speed is a good idea as it will mean you can react better to changes in conditions and minimise any impact of adverse road conditions. Deer also breed in the autumn, which means they’re more active, so be aware they could appear in the road in rural areas.