This is an obvious one for driving in the dark, but many drivers fail to check the condition of their lights once the darker nights appear. During the summer months and lighter days, we don’t need to use our lights as much so when it comes to winter, we take for granted that they are in perfect working order. It’s often when we need them most that we realise there’s a bulb or two which need replacing. If you haven’t already, check your bulbs and if they need replacing, do so immediately. Not only can it cost you a hefty fine if you’re caught by police, but you become a hazard to other drivers and pedestrians. Bulbs are rarely expensive and whether fitted by yourself or a professional, there is no excuse for not being seen. Over winter, dirt and dust can make your lights dirty so just keep an eye on this and wash them when needed.
Keep a torch handy
It’s always a good idea to pack a winter safety kit in your car just in case you get in to an accident or break down. Whether it’s spare blankets, a phone charger or even food, but don’t forget a handy torch. Many smart phones come with torches, so we can forget this lifesaving tool but what if your battery runs out? Our advice is to keep a small torch in your boot as a backup. It can come to the rescue when changing tyres, checking damage to your car or even lending a hand to a fellow driver in need. Just make sure you regularly check the batteries too! Another handy thing to keep in your car boot is a high-vis sign or fluorescent clothing so that you can be seen near your car or at the side of the road.
Be aware of cyclists
It goes without saying that drivers need to take more care and be on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians. Although the majority of cyclists wear protective gear that allows drivers to see them in the dark, there are the odd few that don’t abide by that rule. So, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to keep an extra eye out for cyclists, other cars and of course, pedestrians. Slow your speed down when driving in the dark, especially through residential and built up areas.
Look out for roadworks
Obviously in the dark our vision is impaired which is a problem when it comes to things you can miss even in daylight. Road obstructions such as potholes, signs, roadworks and even diversions can be missed in the dark which can cause damage to your car or send you down the wrong road! When it comes to potholes and debris from bad weather, remember to keep a reasonable speed and factor in extra stopping distance. Coming across roadworks and diversions is inevitable but checking traffic alerts systems before you head out or keeping an ear out for announcements on the radio allow you to be prepared and plan your journey in advance.
Drivers are often guilty of parking their cars or pulling over in unsafe places, whether it’s to nip in to a shop or picking up a passenger. But obstructions like these can cause serious issues for other drivers, especially in the dark. So, think about where you are pulling over or leaving your car. Have you left enough space? Are you too close to passing traffic or are you obstructing a pavement? Take extra care or you might come back to find your car has caused a bump in the night.
It may seem like common sense to take extra care when driving in the dark, but our need to get home quickly to the warmth of our houses can affect our driving decisions and ultimately lead to accidents.
For more driving tips or if you’re searching for a new car, visit exchangeandmart.co.uk or s1cars.com