Everything’s just that little bit harder to do in winter – it’s cold, usually raining and dark – which makes even simple tasks, like getting out of bed, and driving, that little bit trickier. Most of us take our driving skills for granted and once we’ve passed our tests and been driving for a while, it’s easy to get complacent and not think too much about the change in weather and road conditions. But 40% of all road collisions happen when it’s dark and 20% of all serious accidents are because drivers fall asleep at the wheel – so here’s how to keep yourself and others, safe.
Be rested: sounds obvious, but night-time driving can be tiring so make sure you’re well rested or take regular breaks if you’re driving some distance.
Head lights: your full beam’s there for a reason, so use it when you need to, especially on country roads with no street lamps. Nobody likes to be dazzled though – so ensure you dip your full beam in good time when other cars approach. Also, make sure your lamps are positioned correctly.
Interior lights: minimise lights inside of your car; it’ll help you keep focussed and prevent any reflections catching your eye; it’s also less distracting for other cars on the road.
Other drivers: not everyone has driving skills as good as yours, so just be aware that other drivers might drive more erratically at night – best to keep your distance.
Pedestrians: but it’s not just other drivers, look out for pedestrians too, especially around pub closing time – they might not be in any fit state to see you, so make sure you see them.
Don’t rush: nothing is that important that you need to speed to get there – especially at night and if it is, then make sure you leave in good time; better to arrive late and in one piece, than not at all.
Dusk and dawn: it might still be daylight – just - but make sure you can be seen on the road and put your headlights on during twilight hours.
Drive consistently: driving at a consistent speed isn’t just good for your fuel economy, it keeps you safe; driving fast and then having to slow down suddenly can make your driving appear erratic and it could be hard for other road users to gauge what you’re going to do; predictability might be dull, but it’ll keep you safe on the road.
Your eyesight: you might think you have the eyes of a fighter pilot, but it’s worth getting a pro to check out your eyesight just in case. If you already wear glasses, then make sure your prescription is up to date.
Maintain your car: without sounding preachy, you should do this all year round. But with wet leaves on the roads, mud and frost, keeping your car ship shape in winter should be a priority. Make sure tyres have enough tread and are at the right pressure and your windscreen, wipers and mirrors are always clean to allow you maximum visibility.
So, stay safe this winter and make sure you follow our top tips – and don’t forget your car insurance – because it’s not just about staying safe; you need to stay legal too and if you’re on the road, you’ll need cover. Why not comparethemarket.com to see what you could save – half our car insurance customers were £257.59** better off when they compared with us – enough for some new winter tyres perhaps?
** Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August 2016. 50% of consumers could achieve this saving with comparethemarket.com Motor Insurance.