ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is once again urging motorists to ensure they’re as visible as possible at all times. The advice comes as numerous GEM members report spotting vehicles with dangerous lighting defects

Headlights out

Even though the long winter nights are now shortening, there are still huge numbers of vehicles with defective headlights on our roads, causing a significant risk to themselves and others on dark days and wintry nights. Drivers of these so-called ‘one-eyed monsters’ are on the road with only 50 per cent of the light they should have, causing other road users to easily mistake them for a motorbike. Parking and slow speed manoeuvring are also made more risky, as the absence of light means impacts with parked vehicles, walls, posts and trees are more likely.

Daytime running lights

Too many drivers are making themselves harder to spot from behind when daytime visibility is reduced, 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 also reminds drivers of these vehicles that daytime running lights are fairly dim, and do little to illuminate the road ahead.

No lights

Drivers who consider that lights are for use only in darkness are causing danger to themselves and others. Once again, far too many drivers are making journeys on gloomy winter days without switching their lights on. Using dipped headlights for all journeys at this time of year is the safe option, according to GEM.

Obscured lights

Dirt, ice, snow and frost reduce the effectiveness of your car’s lights. It’s also an offence to drive with obscured lights. GEM encourages all drivers to ensure they make a careful check of lights before a journey, to ensure they’re free from dirt and ice, and to ensure they’re working properly.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth explains: “Look after your vehicle’s lights and you have a much greater chance to see and be seen. It’s as simple as that. Don’t delay switching on your lights, get defective bulbs replaced as soon as possible and keep your lights clean. You’ll be helping to keep yourself and other drivers safe all through this winter.

“After all, if you can see something, you’re unlikely to hit it. Likewise if another road user can see you, they’re less likely to hit you.”

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