Switch on this Winter

The dangers of driving at night or in dull conditions with no lights on are very real. Yet most of us will, at some stage, have done it. This Winter make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in full working order and used at appropriate times.

Most of us have been there, having jumped into the car and fastened the seat belt, we have taken off without turning our lights on.  As Winter descends upon us  and the mornings and evenings become increasingly dark, it is very important to switch on your lights. Not only will it improve your ability to see the road ahead but it will make you more visible to other road users.

Using your dipped head lights

Your vehicle’s headlights are very powerful and if not used correctly can be blinding and dangerous for other road users. Your dipped headlights will offer visibility when you cannot use your headlights.  You should use your dipped headlights when:

  • You are driving on well lit roads or well lit urban areas.
  • You are approaching on-coming traffic
  • You are following a vehicle ahead
  • You are approaching a Garda checkpoint
  • You are parked in a dimly lit area

Driving at night or in dark conditions

  • Make sure you clean your windscreen regularly. A clean windscreen will reduce dazzle.
  • Make sure you clean your lights regularly.  Grimy or dirty lights can be ineffective meaning you will find it harder to see and other drivers will find it harder to see you.
  • Never wear sun glasses
  • Watch for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users – they are harder to see at night and in gloomy conditions
  • If you are sleepy, stop, have a coffee and take a 15 minutes nap.
  • Don't blind other drivers with your vehicle's headlights – dip them when vehicles are coming towards you or when you are following another vehicle
  • Never stare at oncoming headlights. Place your gaze slightly to the left-hand side of the road. If you are having difficulty seeing ahead you should pull over and stop.
  • You can be dazzled from behind, from light reflected in your interior mirror. To ease this dazzle you should adjust your interior mirror. Many modern interior mirrors have an anti-dazzle setting which can be switched to easily.
  • Drive at a speed that means you can see the road at least two seconds ahead.
  • In an area without street lighting, use full beam as appropriate to increase your range of visibility.
  • You don't have to wait for the night time before you turn on your car lights or for that matter until the street lights come on. If light levels dip, whatever time of day, then turn on your lights.

Remember, driving at night and in dark conditions is more dangerous than in day light condition. Make sure you wear a seat belt, slow down and use your lights appropriately.

This guidance is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice or other professional advice. This guidance is intended to supplement the Rules of the Road and is not intended to replace or to be used as a substitute to the Rules of the Road. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.

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