It's that time of year again

David Hobbs

It's that time of year again, when the clocks go back and we gain an extra hour in bed in the morning. But that's little consolation considering the long, dark evenings ahead. For drivers, the change in the hour on 25 October heralds months of commuting or doing the school run in the dark. Pedestrians, other road users and road signs become more difficult to see. Add to that the fact that the weather gets worse and you have a recipe for disaster. So, what can drivers do to minimise these problems and make sure they and other road users are safe? Here are a few tips from the RAC:
· Spend a few minutes checking lights and brakes to make sure they're in good working order
· Clean your lights - a quick wipe over means you'll see better and, crucially, you'll be seen more easily too, and carry a spare set of bulbs
· Clean the inside and outside of your windscreen - a smeared windscreen can cause glare when driving at night or when the sun is low in the sky
· Don't forget to turn your lights off when parked - RAC anticipates a 15% increase in flat battery callouts due to vehicle lights being left on over the winter months compared to summer months
· Make sure your screen wash is working and top it up with the correct fluid, and check your wiper blades
· Autumn leaves and weather can make the roads slippery so check your tyres. Make sure they are at the correct pressure, that the rubber is in good order and that the treads meet minimum requirements – 1.6mm for cars, vans and light trailers and 3mm when it's wet
• If you feel tired – pull over and rest for half an hour.