Winter draws on; that’s the advice our Victorian ancestors would have given, but they of course did not have central heating. In the modern motoring world we are lucky enough to have central heating in our cars too, so when the wild wind blows snow flurries across our line of sight we remain warm and cosy. It’s easy with all the modern distractions that our dashboards bring to fail to pay attention to the prevailing conditions outside the car. In short, drivers need to be especially alert in winter conditions.
See And Be Seen
Car drivers tend not to crash into things they can see, that’s obvious. The snag is, unlike the Summer months, visibility is much poorer during the Winter thanks to bleak weather and short days. We all know this and yet we still have accidents. This is why taking proactive control of the lights on the car is a good way to increase safety and reduce risk on winter journeys.
Leave It To The Car?
Motorists need to ensure they’re as visible as possible at all times. Many drivers may be inadvertently making themselves harder to spot from behind when daytime visibility is reduced because they’re relying on automatic lighting systems and front-only daytime running lights. The result is that visibility ahead could be reduced, and there may be no rear lights showing at all.
This is especially true if at some point in the coming months some people may be tempted to sell their car and splash out on a quality used car and thus perhaps be unfamiliar with the new vehicle's systems. This is because we have become increasingly reliant on built-in technology and can make assumptions that automation will do the job for us. More and more cars now have automatic lighting arrangements and it is easy to just assume the car lights are all taken care of without driver input.
Trusting Automatic Sensors
Daytime running lights alone are not sufficient to make a vehicle properly visible to oncoming traffic and other road users, especially in foggy or wet conditions. The situation is worse if the car is displaying no rear lights at all. It is important to use all that accumulated driving experience and common sense and not just rely on automatic sensors to judge what lights are appropriate when.
If visibility is reduced during the day, then use dipped headlights at all times. Switching them on will also ensure the rear lights are on, so the motor will be more conspicuous both front and rear. Further, make regular checks of the main beams, indicators, sidelights, fog lights and brake lights.
Because we very rarely get bad fog in these clean air days (Despite the continued grumbling, air quality for the most part is much better than it used to be. Ask older family members about coal-fired smog), some folk may not even know where their front and rear fog light controls are located. We all know how irritating it is when people use fog lights unnecessarily, but we still need to know where they are for that one day in a hundred when the fog closes in.
Be Familiar With Controls
Get familiar with any automatic lighting systems on the car, but don’t rely on them to provide the right level of illumination at all times and in all conditions. Make sure you use lights in such a way that you’ll gain the maximum benefit, and other road users will have the best chance of seeing you. And remember to look out for other drivers who may not be using lights as effectively as they could.
Motoring blogs often comment about driving standards at this time of year but a thoughtful reminder never did anyone any harm. At least our customers can be comfortable in the knowledge that all our used cars are AA inspected. Safety always makes sense. Now, where are those thermals?