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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

Motorists - Switch on this Winter

Drivers around the nation are being reminded to remain 'switched on' this winter, ensuring they follow lighting-related rules.

Over 6,000 motorists were detected for lighting-related offences last year, with winter being the most common season for the offence to occur.

Offences include driving without effective lights (55%), followed by using a fog light when not permitted (34%).

Across the past five years lighting-related offences have increased by 70% and 40% respectively, with RAA Senior Manager Road Safety Charles Mountain commenting on the issue.

“Driving without effective lights applies to people who forget to turn their lights on at night or in hazardous weather, as well as those who may have a single bulb out.

“Given we’re in the midst of winter when daylight hours are at their shortest and weather conditions are at their worst, it would be advisable for motorists to check that their headlights and other lights are working.

“Of course motorists should also make sure they’ve turned their lights on before undertaking any journey at night or in poor weather.

“Don’t rely on the auto-on function for headlights either, as there is some variability in their sensitivity to light or you might have de-activated it on a previous trip," he said.

A recent RAA members survey found 27% of people would use their high beam headlights in foggy conditions to increase what they can see.

“However, by using high beam as opposed to fog lights, this can actually make visibility worse because it reflects the light off the fog and can dazzle other drivers," Mr Mountain said.

“Fog lights should only be used when visibility is less than 100m."

The penalty for driving at night without lights or using fog lights when not permitted is $238, with a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.

“Obviously it’s a simple mistake to make, but it’s also easily avoidable by conducting regular vehicle checks to make sure your lights are working and then ensuring you use them correctly in the conditions,” said Mr Mountain.

“Motorists shouldn’t just rely on the lights being checked when they get their car serviced, because it’s possible they’ll stop working between services.

“And don’t just check the headlights, motorists should also check the side, tail brake, and number plate lights are working, along with the lights on anything you’re towing, such as a caravan or trailer," he said.

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