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IAM Offers Advice On Driving in the Dark During Winter

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IAM, the Institute of Advanced Motoring, is the UK's leading independent road safety charity, have shared some tips on driving during the winter darkness.

Driving after the sun goes down offers a rather different experience to driving in daylight, particularly when combined with more challenging weather conditions.Speed is more difficult to judge, distances can be hard to calculate, facing a wall of headlights can cause distraction and impaired vision, and you are likely to be more tired than usual. But this shouldn’t put you off. The roads are a lot quieter, and it is a great time to make continuous progress. The Institute of Advanced Motorists is offering a few points for you to bear in mind to help make your drive as safe and enjoyable as possible during the winter months.

  • To improve your view as far as possible, keep your lights and windscreen clean. You should clean the inside of your windscreen as well as the exterior.
  • Use main beam to maximise the distance which you can see ahead, but when other drivers are approaching, make sure you dip your lights to avoid dazzling the oncoming traffic.
  • If an approaching car forgets to dip its lights, look beyond the lights, but to their left to avoid being dazzled as much.
  • Make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear. Stopping distances should be increased during hours of darkness, and even more so if the winter weather has made the roads more slippery.
  • If you’re feeling tired, caffeine alone is not a fix. Take a break and have a 20 minute nap in a safe location. Opening your window to let some cool fresh air in will also help to perk you up.
  • Look at how the traffic in front behaves for clues to possible problems you can’t see yet. You should especially stay on the lookout for brake lights up ahead.
  • During the winter months it is more likely that you will be driving to work in the dark – If it’s gloomy in the morning, don’t forget to put your lights on.

To help drivers stay safe this winter, the IAM has launched its winter driving campaign, which includes a dedicated website featuring traffic updates, weather forecasts and tips on how to drive safely in winter. Tips cover rain, snow, ice, fog and wind – everything you can expect in a typically unpredictable British winter. Check it out before you travel.

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