David Motton

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THE INSTITUTE OF Advanced Motorists (IAM) is offering roadsafety advice to drivers heading out on the roads over the festive season. Someof it may be familiar, but good advice bears repeating.

Peter Rodger, the IAM’s chief examiner, 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.”

Here are Rodger’s tips in full:

  • 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.

There’s more advice on the IAM’s new website, drivingadvice.org.uk, including thoughts on driving in rain, snow, ice, fog and wind.

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