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Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

An estimated 2.6 million cars are being driven illegally on the roads with defective lights, a survey has found. Over one in ten vehicles checked by the authorities across ten major UK cities was found to have a failed headlight, sidelight, rear or brake-light which would significantly increase the risk of an accident.

The scale of the problem is also reflected in MOT failure rates with 1.16 million cars tested in 2012 falling short of required standards because of the condition of their lights.

The survey coincides with trade reminders for drivers to prepare their cars for winter weather and darker driving conditions. It’s a simple enough job – and inexpensive – to fix these things and if you really can’t do it yourself well, there are plenty of professionals to do it for you.

Glasgow fared worst in the study, with just under one in eight of vehicles having defective lights. Newcastle was a close second with more than thirteen percent of cars observed with blown bulbs.

London proved to have the best maintained vehicles with just under seven percent revealed with faulty lights, but even this would mean thousands of drivers in the capital were breaking the law and potentially causing a danger on the road.

Latest figures from the Department of Transport, compiled from police records, show that in 2010, 357 accidents were blamed on vehicles not displaying lights at night or in poor visibility. Over 25,000 accidents were the result of drivers misjudging other vehicles’ speed, often as a result of failing to slow down.

During the survey, researchers monitored cars over a set period of time at busy junctions in the early evening rush hour and recorded the number of cars with faulty lights. The penalty for the offence is £60 and three points.

Missing or non-working brake lights, which can leave drivers unable to judge when the car in front is slowing, showed up as the biggest problem followed by non-functioning headlights.

Owners don’t know when a light has gone out so regular checking is essential, especially in these increased hours of darkness and often more difficult and hazardous autumn and winter conditions. It is an easy job to wander around the car checking these thing out. If in doubt get a family member or friend to help.

In these difficult financial days motorists are delaying essential repairs and waiting for the dreaded MOT but this is a false economy and, frankly, a danger to all. Get them fixed before it’s your life lights that go out or you see the image above in your rear view mirror!

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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