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Fall Back Safely

By raccars Published

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The weekend when the clocks go back is generally welcomed for the extra hour in bed it brings on a Sunday morning, but while the mornings are lighter, the darkness draws in earlier in the afternoons. This can make roads more dangerous, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, as motorists spend more time driving in the dark, often in deteriorating weather conditions and lower temperatures.

Use the following advice to make sure neither you nor other road users come to grief this winter.

Clean and clear

Low, bright sun can play havoc with a dirty windscreen, so make sure your field of vision is clear. Keep your windscreen clean, your washer bottle topped up with low temperature wash fluid and replace old and flabby wiper blades. You must also clear your windscreen of frost, ice, snow and condensation, which means allowing time for your windows to demist before pulling away. Keep de-icer and a scraper in the car for when the low temperatures really start to bite but also a pair of sunglasses to deflect glare from the sun.

Slipping and sliding

The road surface is less stable in cold, wet weather, so you have to be aware that your car will have less grip. Match your speed to the conditions, increase your braking distance and beware of cyclists and other road users at slippery corners.

Tyres and lights

Your regular vehicle maintenance checks become even more important at this time of year. You will need help from someone to watch your lights while you check that they are functioning correctly, as you must make sure that you can see and be seen. Similarly check that your tyres have plenty of tread and are inflated to the correct pressure, to ensure good road holding.

Beware of danger zones

Certain road layouts can become flashpoints for accidents. Take extra care at junctions because it can be difficult to spot cyclists coming up from behind in the darkness, mist or heavy rain. Pedestrians are also easy to miss, so try to be aware of the location of zebra crossings so you can pay extra attention when passing them.

In fact, you simply need to use the same skills you use every day while driving, but a bit more than usual in winter conditions. Allow extra journey time and moderate your driving to suit the conditions, to make the roads safer for everyone.

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