With the clocks going back and plunging us into darkness from late afternoon, it’s important to think about our driving habits and how to stay safe.
Data from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) shows there is a spike in the number of vulnerable road users killed or seriously injured when the clocks go back each year. But there are a number of simple steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe.
Use your lights correctly
Visibility is reduced in autumn and winter, so check all your lights are in good working order. Once you have replaced any faulty bulbs, think about how you use your lights. Experts advise that you start using dipped headlights an hour before the sun sets and continue for an hour after the sun rises during the winter months so that you are always clearly visible to others on the road.
Full beams should be used on unlit roads, but make sure to switch back to dipped if you come across another car so that you don’t dazzle the driver. It’s equally important that you don’t stare at oncoming vehicles in the dark so you are not blinded. A good tip is to look at the white line on the left-hand side of the road to keep your position and to slow down if you are affected by oncoming headlights.
If you’re renting a car or van you should check that you are familiar with how the lights work, asking for advice if you need it. If you’re looking for van rental Bristol, consider getting information from a provider such as Autolyne.
Clean your windows
Colder temperatures mean condensation inside and dirt on the outside of your windscreen, which can also impair visibility. Regular cleaning can help prevent this build-up.
Drive more slowly than you would in the daytime and always keep a safe distance from the car in front, as poor visibility can make reaction times slower. Look out for pedestrians, who may be more difficult to spot, especially if they are wearing dark winter clothing.