RAA urges motorists to be switched on this winter

RAA urges motorists to be switched on this winter | Insurance Business Australia

RAA urges motorists to be switched on this winter
RAA, a provider of motoring services and insurance, has issued a timely reminder to motorists, as it revealed that 6,364 motorists were detected to have committed lighting-related offences last year, with winter being the most common season for the offence to occur.

Of the figure, 55% were detected for driving without effective lights, while another 34% were detected for using a fog light when not permitted. RAA said these offence types jumped by 70% and 40% respectively across the past five years (2012-16), while lighting offences overall have increased by 53%.

“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,” said Charles Mountain, RAA senior manager road safety.

The automobile club also revealed that July is the most common month for motorists to be detected for driving without lights, at 11.3%; followed by August, 10.7%. These offences were commonly detected between 8pm and 10pm (37%).

“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,” Mountain said. “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.”

In a recent survey of RAA members, it has been found that 27% of people use their high-beam headlights to improve visibility.

“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. Fog lights should only be used when visibility is less than 100m,” said Mountain.

Motorists caught driving at night without lights or using fog lights when not permitted will receive a penalty of $238, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.

Mountain urged motorists to regularly check that their lights are working and use them correctly.

“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. Most bulbs can be easily changed with just a screwdriver, but RAA suggests checking your owner’s manual for instructions first,” he said.

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