Time to change your road behaviour
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Time is literally turned back this weekend as daylight savings come to an end along with the British summer. But, while many motorists relish the chance to sleep an hour longer, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) warns there are potential dangers that come with the changing of clocks and increased darkness.
Motorists need to adapt their driving behaviour to accommodate for night driving conditions as the clocks change. Night falls an hour earlier, so the typical commute home from work or school will be in the dark.
Night conditions make the road ahead more difficult to read and yield less information for a driver. Other road users, road signs and objects are harder to see and road conditions and edges become indistinct.
Driving at night at this time of year will also be aggravated by seasonal driving hazards - rain and wind.
As night draws, people also naturally want to slow down and are more likely to grow tired. One in five motorway crashes are fatigue related.
It is also important to consider vehicle condition when driving in dark conditions. Windows (inside and out), mirrors and the lenses of lights and indicators should be kept clean regularly to give the best possible visibility. Lights must be correctly aligned and adjusted for the vehicle load - and bulbs must all work. Now is a good time to renew your windscreen wipers and top up the washer bottle with a good quality detergent.
Leaving the lights on at work or the shops will drain a car battery very quickly. It's easy to forget to switch off lights when leaving the vehicle, and an already depleted battery will be less forgiving. Check the battery is healthy or renew it now before being stranded on a wet and windy roadside.