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Darkness descends

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Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week, with the clocks going back at the weekend, he is advising on driving in the dark.

• To improve your view as far as possible, keep your lights and windscreen clean. It’s easy to forget the inside of the windows, but keeping them clean helps prevent them from misting-up.
• Use main beam on a dark unlit road, but when other drivers or riders are approaching make sure you dip your lights to avoid dazzling the oncoming road users.
• Making sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear still applies in the dark.
• Look at how the traffic ahead behaves for clues to possible problems you can’t see yet – the way other lights behave can tell you a lot.
• Use the headlights of the car you are following to show you to let you see further ahead.
• Don’t look at any lights themselves, but at what they show – so you can make use of more of the light there is from any source, without losing your “night vision” any more than you have to. • Use the reflective road signs and lines to help you see where the road goes and where there are particular problems
• If an approaching car forgets to dip its lights, look beyond the lights to their left to avoid being dazzled as much.
• If it’s gloomy in the morning, don’t forget to put your lights on then too.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “The risk of collisions increases in the dark as visibility is reduced1.  In poor weather remember that you still need to see things like large pools of water or fallen trees in the dark – so adjust your driving to suit all the conditions combined.”

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