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Top tips for driving when the clocks go back

Clock above an old blue classic car

As the days shorten and the nights lengthen, we find ourselves amidst the annual tradition of the end of Daylight Saving Time. While many of us welcome the extra hour of sleep, the adjustment of clocks can significantly impact our daily routines, especially concerning driving. With darkness descending earlier, it’s crucial to adapt driving habits to ensure safety on the road. In this post, we will delve into various strategies and tips on how to drive safely now that the clocks have been set back.

Adapt to Reduced Visibility

One of the most significant challenges of driving post Daylight Saving Time is reduced visibility. The sun sets earlier, requiring drivers to navigate twilight or darkness during their evening commutes. To address this, consider the following:

Properly Functioning Headlights

Ensure your vehicle’s headlights are in proper working order, keeping them on even during twilight hours. Check both dipped and main beams for optimal visibility.

Clean Windscreens and Windows

Clean your windscreens, mirrors, and windows to minimize glare and streaks that could impede your vision.

Anti-Reflective Coating on Spectacles

If you wear glasses, consider acquiring an anti-reflective coating to significantly reduce glare from oncoming headlights.

Reduce Speed and Increase Following Distance

Driving too fast for the conditions is a common cause of accidents, especially during the darker months. Here’s how to reduce speed and increase your following distance:

Slow Down

Adapt your speed to the road conditions, particularly in reduced visibility. Remember, the speed limit is a maximum, not a minimum. Slow down if necessary.

Increase Following Distance

In the dark, reacting to sudden stops can be challenging. Increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you to provide more time for safe braking.

Be Mindful of Pedestrians and Cyclists

With decreased daylight hours, extra caution is essential for pedestrians and cyclists who may be challenging to spot in the dark. Tips to enhance their safety include:

Look Carefully at Zebra Crossings and Junctions

Pay close attention to zebra crossings and junctions, as pedestrians may not always be as visible as you’d prefer.

Be Patient

Grant pedestrians and cyclists the right of way when it’s their turn, keeping in mind that they might be harder to see in low light conditions.

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Watch Out for Wildlife

The autumn season often witnesses increased wildlife activity, especially at dusk and dawn. Strategies to minimize the risk of collisions with animals on the road include:

Use Your Main Beams

When driving in rural or wooded areas, use your main beams to spot animals on or near the road. Exercise caution with other drivers and switch to dipped beams when necessary.

Stay Alert

Keep your eyes on the road, particularly during twilight hours when many animals are most active. Slow down in areas known for high wildlife populations and pay attention to warning signs.

Avoid Distractions

Driving safely is always paramount, but it’s even more critical when visibility is reduced. Minimize distractions that divert your attention from the road, such as texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, or eating. Stay focused on driving and respond promptly to any unexpected situations.

Prepare for Inclement Weather

The end of Daylight Saving Time often aligns with the onset of inclement weather, including rain, fog, and even snow. Ensure your vehicle is prepared for changing conditions with these steps:

Check Your Tyres

Ensure your tyres are adequately inflated and have sufficient tread to maintain good traction in wet or snowy conditions.

Inspect Your Brakes

Verify that your brakes are in good working order to reduce stopping distances.

Carry Emergency Supplies

In case of encountering bad weather or getting stuck, keep essentials like a torch, blankets, water, and non-perishable food in your vehicle.

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