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Darker Nights: Stay Safe on the Roads

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With the clocks going back and British Summer Time officially ending it brings darker evenings and unfortunately an increase in the number of Road Traffic Accidents.

As we all adjust to the evenings drawing in and the days being shorter many of us will only be driving our cars in the darker hours until next spring.

When the clocks go back we go from an average of 16 hours of daylight in the height of summer to a mere 8 hours of daylight in the depths of winter. Spending so many hours in dark requires extra care and attention particularly when travelling on roads.

The number of pedestrian deaths in 2019 rose from 33 in September and 36 in October to 54 and 57 in November and December respectively. The RAC Foundation confirms that on average there are 278 more personal injury collisions per year after the clocks go back than the weeks preceding them. The weather conditions worsen too which also has an impact.

Our Personal Injury Lawyer Lisa Anderson says ”According to RoSPA 40% of road traffic accidents occur during the hours of darkness which means we all need to take extra precautions for our own safety and that of others too.  We also need to be vigilant and adopt a different approach to driving particularly at night.”

Top Tips to Stay Safe on the UK Roads

Plan your Journey

Make sure you are prepared for any bad weather that may occur.  Allow time for your journey so you are not driving under pressure. It is a good idea to carry extra supplies such as gloves, blankets, de-icer, water and mobile chargers. These items could be invaluable in the case of a road traffic accident, it is always a good idea to have a torch, reflective jacket, as well as a pen and paper in your car.

Fluid Levels

Winter driving causes more stress on your car, a general check-up of your car is a good idea, do you have enough oil, is your coolant topped up and is there anti-freeze in there, have you enough screen wash, especially for those cold mornings when the gritters have been out.

Check your lights

It’s important to check that headlights, side lights, main beam, rear light’s and brakes, reversing light and fog lights are all checked to make sure they are working.  Use your full beam on unlit country roads but be careful not to dazzle oncoming traffic by switching them back to dipped beam as soon as you see them. Using your car lights before sunset and for an hour or so after sunrise will help other drivers to see you.

Keep your car clean

Winter weather creates dirt to gather on your car and visibility reduces due to frost and fog.  Make sure your windscreen is clear before you begin your journey.  Do not drive with partially defrosted windows as this can be very dangerous for you and other road users.

Have your eyes tested regularly

Make sure you are wearing the correct prescription glasses if needed. Antireflective coatings on lenses can help to reduce the glare when driving.

Take regular breaks

It is so important to take breaks when you are travelling long distances to keep yourself alert, helping to prevent road traffic accidents and collisions.

Keep distractions to a minimum

With various forms of in car entertainment it is easy to get distracted and not give 100% attention to driving.  The same with carrying children or chatting to other passengers – it is easy to become engrossed and that’s when accidents are most likely to happen. Accidents take seconds to occur, the outcome can last a lifetime.

Lisa adds an extra warning, “The law states that your vision must be clear, Section 229 of the Highway Code confirms before you set off, you must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from your windows, ensure lights are clean and your number plate is clearly visible and legible, ensure your windows are demisted, remove all snow that might fall off your vehicle into the path of other users. Failing to clear windows properly could lead to a fixed penalty fine and three penalty points."

For any advice on Road Traffic Accidents or other Personal Injury issues call us on 0161 785 3500

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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