Stay on the bright side of the road this winter
Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging all road users to make themselves visible and bright on journeys in the coming weeks. Making an effort to see and be seen really could prove a life-saving decision, says GEM.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth says all road users need to take responsibility for ensuring they can see and be seen. “This responsibility not only includes turning lights on, but is also about knowing which lights should – and should not – be used,” he says. “For cyclists, it’s also important to ensure lights are positioned and angled correctly if they are to be as effective as possible.
“It is hard to believe that some drivers and cyclists choose to leave their car lights off on early morning or late afternoon journeys when light is low and visibility is so poor. Other drivers seem to think it’s acceptable to have broken or defective lights, or to use fog lights when there’s no fog.
“We urge drivers to check their lights, clean their lights and use their lights, as this will make a big difference in reducing their risk of a collision.
“Most cyclists know they need good lights in order to stand out and be conspicuous in drivers’ mirrors. But too many riders still go out in dark clothing with no lights on their bicycles, putting themselves at high risk. The risk is even greater in poor weather, amid the glare of street and vehicle lights. They may think that seeing other vehicles is enough to be safe, but if others cannot see them, then the danger remains.”
GEM offers four simple tips that will help reduce high-risk moments or collisions caused by ‘invisible’ road users:
- If you’re a car driver, get familiar with the light settings. Make sure you switch on your front and rear lights, but avoid blinding others with full beam or fog lights when not necessary.
- Don’t rely on automatic light settings and daytime running lights. If you do, you will find that your lighting to the front will be inadequate, while lighting to the rear will be non-existent.
- Check your lights frequently through the winter months. Make sure every bulb is working properly, and that you keep your lights clean.
- Fog lights are designed to improve your view and conspicuity when visibility is reduced. But the law requires that you switch them off when visibility improves.
- If you’re a cyclist, get the best lights you can – and take time to ensure they are secured at the most effective position and angle. Boost safety further by making sure your helmet and clothing are highly visible.
“It’s likely there are always going to be occasions when collisions occur, simply because someone had a lapse of concentration and failed to see another road user,” Neil Worth concludes. “But by ensuring we are bright and conspicuous, we know we will be playing our part in reducing these occasions to a minimum”.