Winter is on our doorstep, and with it comes much shorter days and longer periods of darkness. There are many precautions you can take while driving to ensure you aren’t left in a vulnerable situation in the dark and are able to make it home safely.
We know that more road accidents occur under the cover of darkness, and so it’s important to have a proper back up plan in the unfortunate event that your car does break down.
The following tips will have you off to a good, safe start:
Your headlights need to be lit at all times during the dark. This might seem quite obvious, but when taking off from a well-lit area you can easily forget to switch yours on. Be sure to keep your fellow drivers in mind and adjust your headlights so they are not blinding; change from high beam to low beam and also check the positioning and angle of your lights.
Always remember, with high-beam lights on you can see an average of 100 metres ahead of you and this drops to only 30 metres when using low-beam. So it is very important that you lower your speed safely to compensate for reduced visibility that comes with dipping your lights. Avoid being distracted by oncoming lights by averting your eyes slightly to the side of the road to avoid any dazzling high beams.
Front Fog lights:
If your car does not come equipped with front facing fog lights it is a great idea to have them installed, fog becomes increasingly common during winter and when combined with darkness can really inhibit your visibility. Front facing fog light beams spread further than normal headlights to highlight any upcoming obstructions or dangers such as bumps, rocks and potholes.
Be careful that your windshield and mirrors are clean so there’s no glare directed towards your eyes. Grime and grease may not be visible during the day so give them a double wipe, or polish with some newspaper. Any marks on your windshield will refract oncoming light and dazzle you.
Your mirrors need to be positioned slightly downwards to avoid the lights from other cars getting into your eyes. If your rear-view mirror has a dimmer setting, use this if you are faced with another car’s bright lights.
It is very important that you get regular eye tests to determine how well you can see in low light and darkness. You may need new or updated prescription glasses to ensure optimum vision when driving in the dark.
Tiredness is a real threat for late night driving, and the shorter days can make this even worse. Make sure you remain alert and be mindful of other drivers who might, themselves be tired.
Being tired decreases your reaction times, so if you find yourself drooping behind the wheel, have a break, have a coffee, have a quick nap and continue when you feel fresh enough to do so. It is recommended that you take at least a 15 minute break every two hours while driving.
Call for back up:
For when things do go wrong, a backup plan is important. Have you considered what to do if your car won’t go or you run out of fuel? Avoid becoming an unintentional pedestrian.
Car trouble can sometimes happen no matter how well prepared we are, but with Aviva car insurance, breakdown rescue cover comes as standard.
Safe Driving Emergency toolkit:
At all times, keep an emergency toolkit in your car including the following:
- High-vis vests and coat
- Reflective warning triangles
- Spare tyre
- Ice scraper
- Small shovel
- Jump leads
- First-aid kit
- Multi-tool and window breaker
And on longer trips ensure you have bottles of water, some snacks and a blanket or warm coat for all occupants of the car in case you do breakdown.
The last step in your protection is giving your car quality, reliable cover. For more information on our car insurance click here.
With plenty of driving in winter conditions ahead for the next few months, be sure to check our article about how to survive an unexpected breakdown here.