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Driving When The Clocks Go Back

As the clocks go back one hour on Sunday 25 October, here is a timely reminder of the road safety implications that accompany the change.

This time of year sees an increase in vehicle accidents and insurance claims.So here are some suggestions to help you stay safe on the roads as the nights draw in and the weather becomes colder.

One of the key issues at this time of year is vehicle maintenance; you need to ensure that you undertake sufficient checks on the condition of your vehicle.

 Maintenance checks:

  • Check that it is serviced and well maintained and that you have adequate anti-freeze levels
  • Ensure that your tyre tread depths are legal and tyres are adequately inflated
  • Check that all your lights are working and that the light lenses and windows are clean; with the darker evenings and subsequently lower visibility, lights are even more crucial
  • Be more attentive on the roads this time of year with darker evenings and inclement weather

Driving safety:

  • An eyesight check is also a good idea at this time of year. Driving in twilight is particularly difficult for those with eyesight problems as your eyes constantly have to adapt to the reducing light levels
  • Check the expected weather conditions before you drive.  Try to avoid driving in extreme weather and heed road safety warnings
  • Do not focus on on-coming vehicle high beams and keep your eyes moving
  • Dim your dashboard lights and refrain from leaving your reading light on
  • Ensure that your interior windscreen is clean and free from greasy residues and your exterior mirrors are clean.  A good tip here is to wipe your windscreen with newspaper, which will remove even the most stubborn of greasy residues
  • Adapt your driving, slow down and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front
  • Make sure you can be seen: turn your beams on in good time
  • Be aware of vulnerable road users and be extra vigilant by schools
  • Take more breaks when you’re on a longer journey

Breakdown advice

Driving in darker conditions seems to result in a greater number of vehicle breakdowns. If you break down, find a safe and well-lit place to stop. Leave your hazard warning lights on and find a safe place to stand away from the vehicle to wait for help. During the colder weather, it is also sensible to ensure you always have a warm coat and/ or a blanket in the car in case of a break down.

Concluding thoughts

Most of our advice is just good common sense, but with our busy lives it’s easy to overlook some of the basics. Ensure that any vehicle you drive has been serviced and everything is in good working order- do not make assumptions. Do not treat severe weather warnings as a test of your driving ability…when you can, you should avoid making unnecessary journeys. Be sensible and stay safe.

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