AS the nights draw in, Tayside Police are urging all road users to be aware of the lack of daylight hours and potentially poorer weather throughout the coming months.
Winter weather has been less severe in recent years, but the Scottish climate is more than capable of creating extreme conditions which can and do cause difficulties for motorists.
Drivers are being advised that now is the time to ensure they are not caught out and that they and their vehicle are suitably prepared before the worst of the weather sets in.
Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Head of Road Policing in Tayside, said: ‘‘It is vitally important to make sure your vehicle is adequately maintained and serviced. Brakes, tyres, lights, batteries, windscreens and wiper blades need to be in good condition and engine coolant levels and washer bottles must be topped up and contain anti-freeze.
“Sunglasses may not be readily associated with winter driving but a pair should be kept handy and used when necessary as it is easy to be blinded by a low sun and all windows, not just the windscreen, should be demisted and cleared of any frost, snow or ice before moving off.
‘‘Worn and incorrectly inflated tyres make a vehicle much more difficult to control and stop in the event of an emergency.
‘‘Tyres should be checked for bulges, cuts or tears that will weaken them and potentially lead to a collision. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm and tyres perform more efficiently with a greater depth of tread.
“Stopping distances are greatly increased when the roads are wet or icy and drivers should increase the distance between them and the vehicle in front. Be aware of and anticipate changing road and traffic conditions. Decelerate rather than rely solely on the brakes.’’
In poor visibility drivers are also warned to stay back from the vehicle in front and use dipped headlights. Fog lights can only be used when visibility is seriously reduced to less than 100 metres and must be switched off when conditions improve.
Cyclists should have suitable lights on their bicycles and wear high visibility clothing, as well as a cycle helmet.
Pedestrians should also try to wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing during darkness hours if they are going to be near to a road, particularly in rural areas where the street lighting can be very limited.