Motor risk expert, Graham Evans, explains the implications on road safety when the clocks go back and the steps you should take to drive safely in the dark.
It’s all about good common sense, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook the basics. A key issue is vehicle maintenance. At this time of year, it’s vitally important to make sure your vehicle is serviced, has adequate levels of antifreeze and that tyres are properly inflated and tread depths legal.
With lower visibility due to darker nights and inclement weather, lights are crucial and you should ensure all lights are working, and that lenses and windows are clean.
Other precautions you should take:
- have an eyesight check, as driving in twilight and continually adjusting to reducing light levels can be difficult for your eyes
- check the weather forecast before you drive and try to avoid driving in extreme conditions
- don’t focus on on-coming vehicles high beams & keep your eyes moving
- dim your dashboard lights and turn off reading lights
- clean exterior mirrors and the interior windscreen (wipe the interior windscreen with newspaper to remove greasy residue)
- slow down, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front, and adapt your driving to the conditions
- make sure you can be seen, turn on your beams in good time
- be extra vigilant by schools and be aware of vulnerable road users
- take more breaks when you’re on a long journey.
If you breakdown, find a safe, well-lit place to stop. Leave on your hazard warning lights and stand away from the vehicle while you wait for help. Keep a warm coat or blanket in the car in case of breakdown.
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