Be Bright at Night
As the clocks go back, we've got tips to make your journey safer and easier, whether you're walking, cycling or driving this winter,
Low sun, long dark nights, poor visibility and road conditions...winter travel is by no means easy. Unfortunately, at this time of year, pedestrian road safety collisions are often at their highest.
There are steps we can all take to make sure that we can see others, and that others can see us too.
Bright and Reflective Clothing
When the clocks go back, we face a lot of long dark evenings through the winter. Add to that dull days or bad weather! If you're out walking or cycling in reduced daylight or the evening, dress brightly to help other travellers spot you.
You don't have to dress head-to-toe in neon or high-viz (though we know a few who can rock that look!). But brightly coloured jackets or clothing with reflective strips can help catch light and make you seen.
You can even buy reflective stickers to add to jackets (including cool shapes for kids) or LED bands to wear.
Be bright and be seen.
Driving in the dark
As a driver, it is important to adapt to conditions to ensure you can remain vigilant for other road users.
- Slow down in busy areas and when weather or visibility dictates
- Be seen – turn on your headlights at twilight and in poor weather conditions
- Keep windows clean, inside and out – dirty windows increase glare and are more prone to steaming up.
- Have your eyes checked – night vision decreases with age.
Crossing roads safely
In bad weather we might be tempted to dash across the road to get out of the rain quicker , but don’t rush or take chances.
For the same reason, we might also look for the quickest way to cross rather than the safest. Cross safely and, where possible, try to use recognised crossings. Avoid crossing near parked cars and busy junctions.
Be alert, not distracted – it's easy in the rain, sleet or snow to want to keep head down - but keep your head up and make sure you can properly see and hear traffic.
Cycling over winter
Here are some tips to handling two-wheels in the winter weather:
- Ensure you have working bike lights
- Have reflectors on your bike
- Wear high visibility or reflective clothing
- Dress in warm layers with waterproofs. Your hands and feet will feel the cold. You can buy overshoes and make sure that your gloves allow you enough movement for your breaks and gears.
- Consider wearing clear cycling
- glasses which can protect your eyes from wind, rain, and winter showers.
- In winter conditions be aware of the possibility of black ice. Wider tyres can give extra contact and grip.
- Give your bike a bit of a clean and some TLC after your journey to remove any grit.
Driving in winter weather
Dark days and winter weather can make for difficult driving conditions and its important to drive appropriately for the conditions.
Stopping distances increase with water and ice on the roads. Ensure you drive for the conditions and allow extra time and space for stopping and slowing down.
Check your tyres are the correct pressure and have a good amount of tread - about 3mm in winter. If you spend a lot of time in your car, you may even want to use winter tyres.
Allow extra time - both for your journey and for properly preparing your car by de-icing, clearing snow or de-misting. Remember to clear your side mirrors and registration plate.
Keep your screen wash topped up so you can always clear your screen of dirt and salt.
Consider having an emergency kit in your car, in case you should get stuck in poor weather.
Getting home safe
If you're out after dark for a festive get-togethers or party, make sure to plan your travel home before your night out gets underway and if you can, let someone know how and when you plan to get home.
If your travel plans fall through, make sure to find an alternative safe way to get home. If you've had a few to drink, walking home, particularly on dark rural roads, is not a safe choice.