Driving in poor conditions

Driving in poor conditions

Sunday 27 October officially marks the end of British Summer Time, and as the clocks go back drivers should brace themselves for a very dangerous period on the country’s roads. Recent research from insurance company Zurich found that there is an average increase of 11% in the number of car insurance claims made following the clock change.  In this period in 2011, this accounted for 1,786 road casualties nationally, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists. The message from Trust My Garage is clear – motorists need to see and be seen.

“As it gets darker much earlier, motorists need to make sure that they remain safe on the roads. October is a typical time for road accidents which can often be avoided by taking extra care on the road and by motorists carrying out extra checks on their vehicles, especially their lights,” warns Terry Gibson of Trust My Garage.

A recent survey by Trust My Garage found that 84% of motorists are failing to carry out basic checks on their vehicle, something which becomes increasingly more important at this time of year. Motorists who get used to driving their regular routes in broad daylight can find it hard to adjust to suddenly doing the same journey at the same time, but in the dark, often forgetting to switch on their headlights to make them more visible. Couple this with the fact that autumnal weather is often wet and windy, and the risk of having an accident on the road is greater than at any other time of year. The key to staying safe is preparation, especially when visibility is poorer.

 Terry Gibson continued: “Drivers should ensure that their windows and lights are clean at all times to enable them to see what is happening around them. A good rule of thumb is to turn on dipped headlights whenever the windscreen wipers are on.Being seen is as important as seeing. Remember it is an offence to let your reservoir run out for your windscreen washers, so make sure this is always topped up and have your tyres at the correct pressure so your stopping distance is not increased. Regular servicing can help make sure your car is fit for darker and wetter conditions.”

As well as ensuring that a car is fit for purpose, motorists can also improve their own driving practice and awareness to make sure that they remain safe when driving in dark and often dangerous conditions. Taking regular breaks on long journeys and allowing more time to stop behind a car in front can all enhance safety while driving.

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