The weekend after next marks the end of British Summer Time and North Wales Police are reminding road users to take extra care and remain vigilant when out and about.
With the clocks going back by one hour, the changes mean the days become shorter and it becomes darker much earlier and children, pedestrians and cyclists become even more vulnerable as they are less visible to motorists.
Inspector Dave Cust from North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said: “Now that the clocks will be going back and it’s getting darker earlier on, it’s more important than ever to make sure you can be seen when you’re out and about near roads. The longer periods of darkness in the mornings and evenings, as well as poorer weather conditions, mean the risks of being involved in road traffic collisions are heightened.
“Drivers should take extra care in the dark and during bad weather and be considerate to their own and other road users’ safety. Drivers should check their vehicle is safe to be on the road and is in working order, particularly in the changeable conditions that we can expect over the coming months. By slowing down if it’s wet or foggy, and considering other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists drivers can make a real difference in helping to reduce road casualties. ”
“Cyclists and motorcyclists also need to take responsibility and ensure they are visible by wearing fluorescent, bright and reflective clothing. We often see many road cyclists out and about wearing black coloured cycling gear which is not only inappropriate, but very dangerous. Cyclists are also reminded that they must have a working white front light and a red rear light on their bikes.
“Parents should also ensure their children can be seen, again by wearing fluorescent and reflective clothing whilst walking home from school.
He added: “This is all part of our commitment to improving road safety and prevent further tragedies on our roads and we are urging all road users to share in the collective responsibility to keep our roads safe.
“Additionally, we’ll be doing roadside checks to ensure vehicles are roadworthy for the winter months ahead so I would encourage motorists to give their vehicles a once over and make sure tyres have sufficient tread, are inflated to the correct pressure, that all lights work properly and that you have washer fluid topped up to keep your windscreen clear. Please take care and stay safe.”
North Wales Police have also taken the opportunity to offer some ‘top tips’ for road users:
- Make sure all lights are clean, working and adjusted properly
- Ensure the windscreen is clean inside and out
- Use headlights whenever visibility is reduced – for example, at early mornings and at dusk, when it’s raining or in any gloomy conditions. It’ll help others to see you
- Don’t dazzle others with your main beam
- Reduce your speed. You should be able to stop within the distance you can see
- Check the condition of wipers and washers
- Have your brakes and tyres looked at – on wet roads it’s even more vital that brakes are working efficiently and tyre treads are legal
- If your vehicle breaks down, pull off the road as far as possible and switch on the hazard warning lights
- Consider fitting winter tyres during cold weather
- Take extra care to look out for cyclists as they turn at junctions
- Bicycles should be equipped with good lights. It is an offence to cycle at night without a white front light, a red back light and a red reflector at the back
- You should put the lights where they can be easily seen, not hidden behind saddles or framework
- It is a good idea to carry spare batteries and bulbs with you in case they run out when cycling along
- If you see other vehicles using their lights, use yours.
- Take extra care to be seen – bright or fluorescent clothing shows up best in the daytime and reflective clothing is best at night.
- Watch out for car drivers. Remember, there are fewer cyclists on the roads in winter, so drivers may be less aware
- Traffic isn’t the only hazard at night. Watch out for uneven surfaces and potholes, animals, pedestrians in dark clothing and other cyclists without lights. Look for them carefully and give them a wide berth when you see them
- Make sure your reflectors are clean at all times
- You can also make your bike more visible by adding spoke reflectors
- Make sure you can be easily seen at all times, but especially at night, on dark days and in bad weather
- Bright or fluorescent clothes show up best by day, especially in dull or misty weather
- By night, reflective material is best and shows up in car headlights – fluorescent clothing doesn’t work after dark
- Reflective tape can be put on clothing, school bags and equipment
- Cross the road at the safest place possible for example, zebra, pelican, puffin and patrolled crossings
- Use the Green Cross Code: Stop, Look, Listen, Live
- If you are out at night, choose routes that are well-lit by streetlights and cross at well-lit places