Tips for winter night driving

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To ensure the safety of all drivers and cyclists during this season, we’ve compiled some useful tips for drivers this winter to help plan and prepare for journeys.

Vision
Keep the windscreen and other windows clear – if your vision is obscured through dirt, snow or even sticker-infested car windows you could face a hefty fine. Clear snow from the roof as well as from windows as this can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view. It can be a hazard to other road users as well.

Ensure the headlights and tail lights are cleaned to remove dirt. It might seem like common sense, but having a clean windshield makes a huge difference in night driving. It’s not just the outside of the windshield. Clean the inside as well. Chances are, you’ve touched the windshield with your hand when wiping away condensation in the winter or a little water has just pooled up. When the windshield is a bit smeared, it creates a halo-effect around lights and makes it difficult to see.

If you have a long night drive ahead, check all car lights before setting off. Check that the indicators, rear lights, brake lights, sidelights, headlights and main beams are all functioning properly. Should a headlight fail or not found to be working correctly, replace as soon as possible.

Bulbs should be replaced in pairs. Replacing both will give consistent light output between the corresponding lamp units. Regularly clean your lights and windows.

Make an extra effort to look out for other road users. Pedestrians on country lanes without pavements; and cyclists, they’re all much harder to see at night.

Tips to prevent a flat battery
Lights, heaters and wipers put high demands on the car battery. If your driving is mainly dark rush-hour trips, the battery will give out eventually.

Batteries rarely last longer than five years. Replacing one near the end of life can save a lot of time and inconvenience at the roadside.

A battery left idle for a long time will naturally discharge. If not seen to the discharge will be so extensive that the battery will need to be replaced.
The battery terminals and connections should be cleaned. Dirt or moisture increases the rate of natural discharge
Traditional Lead Acid batteries should have their electrolyte checked and if needed topped up with distilled water.