Drivers, are you conspicuous enough?
As a driver, protect your view and maintain your conspicuity!
Even in normal weather, it is possible for vehicles (dependent on colour) to become harder to see if they pass from sunlight to shade, or pass through a cloud of smoke or dust. And in low light visibility, or in high-contrast lighting, things can quickly get more extreme.
Maintaining your own conspicuity simply means making sure that other people can easily see your vehicle approaching, at all times!
It doesn’t take much to work out that the standard advice of ‘if you turn your wipers on then you should also turn on the headlights,’ is frequently inadequate. Even at midday, in stormy weather, it is not rare for the sky to be seriously dark when it is not raining at all! Conversely, there are times when it is raining yet the sky is quite bright, with visibility only mildly affected. And what about foggy weather when it’s not raining?
The fact is that simplistic rules such as ‘wipers on, headlights on,’ are often about as much use as a heat shield that’s made of chocolate — very little use at all!
One good solution is simply to maintain your concentration and constantly watch other vehicles — both ahead of you and behind you. If at any stage they are less-easy to see, then your vehicle may be harder to see, too. And remember that if the sun is very low it may be dazzling people on the far side of your vehicle, to the extent that they can’t see you against such bright light.
Using your low-beam headlights doesn’t cost anything that will break the bank and does not negatively impact on the life of your battery! Yes, it does use a miniscule amount more fuel, and that in turn increases your engine emissions. But protecting lives by letting other road users see you coming is easily the bigger consideration.
And finally, keep all of your vehicle windows and lights clean and clear. If you use sunglasses in bright sunshine, keep them safely within reach, especially on stormy days when a sudden shaft of sunshine hitting a wet road can be particularly dazzling.
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