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Staying Safe At Night

Staying Safe At Night

As usual, the pointless exercise when we put the clocks back means that the colder months are officially rolling in. And while this may have given us all an extra hour in bed – for one night only – it also means the evenings are becoming much darker, much earlier. So what does this mean for drivers? For most, the five o’clock commute home will be reminiscent of night time with very low visibility, automatically putting us in a much more dangerous environment than during the peak of summer.

To ensure the safety of all drivers and cyclists (given the recent news from London) during this time, we’ve compiled some useful tips for drivers this winter. For example, plan your journey. In Gloucestershire there is a notorious roundabout where accidents often occur. Regular drivers using this route have developed a way to avoid it by planning ahead.

If you have a long night time drive build in extra breaks into your journey and check all car lights before setting off. Check that the indicators, rear lights, brake lights, sidelights, headlights and main beams are all working properly. Regularly clean your lights and windows. You don’t need any other restraints on your visibility! Get in the habit of giving your lights a regular wipe.

Operate your own dazzle policy. If you find you’re being blinded by someone else’s full beam, slow down (if it’s safe to do so) or even stop until they’ve gone. Don’t match it with your own full beam – that‘s heading for road-rage territory. Increase gaps between yourself and the vehicle in front. Make sure you build in extra time and space between yourself and the car in front as you won’t be able to see hazards as easily as you can in daylight. In other words, keep alert.

Make an extra effort to look out for other road users. Pedestrians on country lanes without pavements; cyclists, tottering revellers, they’re all much harder to see at night, even if they’re wearing fluorescent jackets or luminous bunny ears.

Many motorists find night driving a challenge at the best of times but in winter weather even the most competent drivers will encounter additional hazards. Making simple changes to your driving techniques could make all the difference to both your own and other road-users safety during the dark winter months. We might be preaching to the choir but it never hurts to be reminded about road safety.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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