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Make sure your car lights are twinkling nice and bright

DANGEROUS: Dark evenings are upon us

ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging motorists to check – and use – their car lights to ensure they’re as visible as possible during this darkest time of the year.

The advice comes amid continued concern that many drivers make themselves harder to spot from behind 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.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth explains: “More and more cars now have automatic lighting arrangements. These, combined with front-only daytime running lights, mean it’s easy to assume your lights are all taken care of without your needing to do anything.

“However, daytime running lights alone are not sufficient to make you properly visible to oncoming traffic and other road users, especially in foggy or wet conditions. What’s more, you are likely to be displaying no rear lighting whatsoever.”

GEM’s advice is to use your experience and common sense, and not to rely on automatic sensors to judge what lights are appropriate on your journeys.

At this time of year, it makes sense to use dipped headlights at all times, day and night. Switching them on will also ensure your rear lights are on, so you’ll be more conspicuous from front and rear.

Make regular checks of your main beams, indicators, sidelights, fog lights and brake lights.

Know where your fog light controls are located, so you can turn them on and off as conditions require.

Familiarise yourself with any automatic lighting systems on your car, but don’t rely on them to provide the right level of conspicuity at all times and in all conditions.

Make sure you use lights in such a way that you and other road users gain the maximum benefit. After all, it’s about being seen as much as being able to see.

Look out for other drivers who may not be using lights as effectively as they could.

Worth concludes: “Drivers tend not to crash into things they can see. That’s why taking proactive control of the lights you use is a good way to increase your safety and reduce your risk on winter journeys.”

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