Always look on the bright side…

clocks-go-backI live with a SAD sufferer and for whom the October clock change means the onslaught of winter and a good reason for his evident trials and tribulation.

After a summer of laid back and devil may care attitude he has his first cold this weekend and, as I see it, this is more to do with his mind than any truly congested head.

Not that I’m unsympathetic of course…

Which is why I identified with the latest wisdom from the IAM, coinciding with the clocks going back this weekend. Yes we get an extra hour in bed but thereafter this affects journeys to and from work and probably the morning school run as well. Which means we should remember the following things we can do to make sure our car(s) are as well prepared as possible for this in advance.

* To improve your view as far as possible, keep your lights and windscreen clean. It’s easy to forget the inside of the windows, but keeping them clean helps prevent them from misting-up.

* Use main beam on a dark unlit road, but when other drivers or riders are approaching make sure you dip your lights to avoid dazzling the oncoming road users.

* Making sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear still applies in the dark.

* Look at how the traffic ahead behaves for clues to possible problems you can’t see yet – the way other lights behave can tell you a lot.

* Use the headlights of the car you are following to help you see further ahead.

* Don’t look at any lights themselves, but at what they show – so you can make use of more of the light there is from any source, without losing your “night vision” any more than you have to.

* Use the reflective road signs and lines to help you see where the road goes and where there could be particular problems.

* If an approaching car forgets to dip its lights, look beyond the lights to their left to avoid being dazzled as much.

* If it’s gloomy in the morning, don’t forget to put your lights on then too.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “The risk of collisions increases in the dark as visibility is reduced. In poor weather remember that you still need to see things like large pools of water or fallen trees in the dark – so adjust your driving to suit all the conditions combined.”

I’d add: “Check your tyres more regularly than ever and if you’re a Club member take advantage of our free seasonal car checks; they’ll make sure your tyres, lights, antifreeze and battery are up to the winter challenge ahead.”

FOXY