Darker evenings also see the road casualty rates increase. Here are some frightening facts from 2011:
- The number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in November was 14 per cent more than the monthly average.
- The number of cyclist casualties was 5 per cent higher.
- The rate of motorcycle casualties per vehicle mile was 28 per cent higher.
While the more vulnerable road users are at a significantly higher risk, cars on the road are also at risk. That’s why it’s important to take extra precautions when driving at night. Driving in the dark is a different experience to driving in the daylight. So keep an eye out for the motorcyclist in the darker clothing. Speed is difficult to judge while the following distances of other vehicles can be hard to see with a wall of headlights shining back at you.
Here’s some advice on adjusting your driving to the shorter days ahead.
- Turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise so that it’s easier for other drivers to see you in twilight.
- It’s also important to make sure all your exterior lights are cleaned and working properly.
- Keep the windscreen free of fallen leaves
- Make sure your windscreen and windows are clean both inside and out.
Make the most of other people’s lights – use the light shed by vehicles ahead or from roadside lights – not just street lights – to help you see further ahead.
On rural roads, drive on full beam whenever possible but dip your lights when faced with another road user to avoid dazzling them. If a driver approaching you fails to dip their own headlights, look away to the verge on the left-hand side to avoid being dazzled yourself. And make the most of other people’s lights – use the light shed by vehicles ahead or from roadside lights - not just street lights - to help you see further ahead.
If you are not sure if your car is in tip top condition for winter driving, take your car to a local Good Garage Scheme member for a Winter Check. Visit www.GoodGarageScheme.com.
The Good Garage Scheme wishes to thank the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) for the above article. For more information about the IAM, please visit their website.