Major winter driving mistakes that drivers should fix quickly
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Experts have been warning drivers to remain calm when driving where there is reduced visibility, in the event of fog, snow or dark. Seb Goldin, CEO of RED Driving School, urged drivers to ensure they are driving safely during the winter months when it’s dark and visibility is low.
He said that the basics of driving remain the same whether it is light or dark, with motorists being advised to take more precautions.
Research shows that road traffic collisions increase by 19 percent in the fortnight after the clocks go back.
The reverse can be seen in the warmer months when accidents are reduced when the clocks go forward again.
Mr Goldin said: “Cleaning your windows before setting off seems like an obvious thing to do, but some motorists forget to do it.
“Driving with a dirty windscreen is dangerous whatever the time of year, but when it’s dark and visibility is already low, it’s even more dangerous.
“Before setting off, make sure you have sufficient washer fluid, if the roads have been gritted, your windscreen will become very dirty very quickly.”
Car insurance claims for road accidents also jump dramatically in the weeks after the clocks go back, rising by 22 percent in 2021.
Reducing speed and increasing the gap between other vehicles means there will be more time to react to unpredictable situations which are more commonplace in the dark.
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This is evidenced by data from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which found that 40 percent of accidents occur in the dark.
This will also give more space to motorcyclists and cyclists who are more vulnerable in winter weather conditions such as rain.
As with any weather or road conditions, if the driver is becoming tired, they must avoid driving as soon as possible.
The risk of falling asleep at the wheel is higher at night and it is estimated that 20 percent of serious accidents on major UK roads are related to tiredness.
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Mr Goldin added: “Make sure you check your car’s lights often, and if you find a faulty bulb, get it fixed as soon as possible. Additionally, it’s vital to use your lights correctly.
“If your car doesn’t have daytime running lights, turn your dipped headlights on for approximately an hour before the sun goes down when dusk is settling in.
“This will help ensure you’re always visible to pedestrians and other road users, without dazzling other drivers.
“If your headlights switch on automatically, check that they respond in foggy conditions too.”
Weak light or glare from the sun setting at dusk, from about 4pm, can make some colours less distinct.
Because of this, drivers should leave extra braking distance between them and the vehicle in front, allowing for extra time to react.
If possible, motorists are advised to use main roads, as they are better lit and allow for more visibility of any fallen branches or debris.
On smaller, more rural roads, drivers may not have as much time to react to other drivers or diversions in the road.
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