Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain's top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week, with the shortest day of the year, he is advising on driving on the motorway at night.
Rodger offers tips on driving on the motorway in the dark:
- Driving in the dark can cause fatigue - plan your journey, scheduling at least one stop every two hours.
- Don't ignore warning signs of fatigue. In extreme cases, have a caffeine drink and sleep for 20 minutes while it takes effect. You can only do this once per journey; it won't have the same effect if you do it more than once.
- Share the driving if possible.
- Many stretches of motorway are not lit during hours of darkness - To improve your view as far as possible, keep your lights, mirrors and windscreen clean.
- Watch for tell-tale brake lights up ahead to foresee any changes in traffic speed or queues which you may be joining.
- Make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear.
- If you break down, pull over on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as you can, pointing your wheels in towards the kerb.
- When stopped on the hard shoulder, leave your vehicle and get as far away from the road as possible, behind the crash barrier, and up the bank if there is one.
Rodger said: "Although motorways are our safest roads, darkness brings with it additional challenges which increase the risk of fatal accidents. Plan your journey from beginning to end and take necessary precautions to keep yourself and your family safe this Christmas."
To help drivers stay safe this winter, the IAM has launched a new website, drivingadvice.org.uk, with traffic updates, weather forecasts and tips on how to drive safely in winter.
Tips cover rain, snow, ice, fog and wind – everything you can expect in a typically unpredictable British winter. Check it out before you travel.