‘Extreme importance’: Drivers urged to check their car lights over winter visibility fears

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December 21 is the shortest day of the year, with most towns and cities in the UK experiencing little more than eight hours of sunlight. Driving without proper working headlights is illegal and can be even more dangerous in the winter when vision is reduced even more with shorter days and the possibility of fog.

Some drivers may feel that one headlight is enough to see on the road, but experts warn that drivers are at serious risk if the other goes out whilst they are in motion.

When driving with one headlight, motorists will be pulled over by the police and they will hand the driver a fixed penalty notice of £100.

This will not lead to penalty points on driving licences, but it is intended to act as a warning to fix the headlights.

If the offence is challenged in court the fine could rise to £1,000.

According to the Highway Code, “lights, indicators, reflectors, and number plates MUST be kept clean and clear”.

It also clarifies that headlights must be used when visibility is seriously reduced, which will be a lot shorter in the winter months.

Paul Graham, the Managing Director of H&H Insurance Brokers (HHIB), has issued a warning to drivers as the latest figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show the high volume of collisions which occur during hours of darkness.

The data from RoSPA found there were just under 700 fatal accidents involving vehicles at night in the UK in the space of one year, and nearly 38,000 injuries were sustained during the same period.

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Of the fatalities, 336 involved car users and 93 were motorcycle users, with the other fatalities involving other road users including cyclists and pedestrians.

A total of 24,283 car users were injured with 3,814 motorcyclists sustaining injuries.

Mr Graham said: “Road casualty figures show that 40 percent of all accidents on the road happen during the hours of darkness.

“Driving in the dark is more difficult for even the most experienced of drivers, so it is of extreme importance that people take care when driving at night.

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