The long light evenings of summer have come to an end and it’s time to exchange that air conditioning button for your car’s heating control.
Yes, at 2 a.m. this Sunday (November 6), we officially say goodbye to summertime as the clocks go back one hour, marking the end of Daylight Saving Time for 2016 and a return to standard time.
Changing the clocks means it can be dark by late afternoon and, before long, darker in the mornings too. Darker roads mean riskier journeys, for all road users. And that’s why, as the clocks go back, we need to think about adapting the way we drive, building winter driving techniques into our existing safe driving skills.
Here are our tips for driving safe when the clocks go back:
Keep your car in tip-top condition
- Check lights, including indicators and brake lights
- Keep your car clean to help improve visibility through the windows
- Keep wiper fluid topped up so you can clear your windshield
- Now is also a great time to think about other checks, such as tire pressure, fluid levels and oil
- De-mist windows before you set off
- Pack a basic emergency kit, just in case you get into trouble
On the road
- Keep your speed right down as you are less likely to see vulnerable road users such as children, the elderly, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in the dark
- Maintain a safe following distance, at least three seconds in good conditions
- Adapt your speed to suit the weather — it takes around twice as long to stop on wet roads and ten times as long on icy roads
- Look out for others and anticipate the actions of all road users
- Stay focused on the task at hand
- Remember that familiar routes can look different in the dark
- If you use high-beams, don’t forget to switch back to low-beams when another vehicle is approaching
Collision rates generally increase after the clocks go back and as visibility and weather conditions begin to worsen. But, with a little planning ahead you can be certain you’ll be ready for a whole new season of safe driving. You might just need to turn up that heater another notch.
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