Police in Suffolk and Norfolk have launched an operation to improve road safety and reduce collisions as the darker nights set in.
Collision rates tend to increase at this time of year and police are warning drivers to be prepared for the change in conditions as the clocks going back on Sunday (25 October).
“These may seem minor issues to some drivers but if you drive a car with one headlight out you are effectively reducing your visibility by half and the chances of being seen.” – Chief Inspector Chris Spinks
Officers will be carrying out roadside checks from Thursday 22 October to Sunday 1 November to focus on defect offences involving lights, tyres, windscreens and screen wash and anything else which may impact on the roadworthiness of a vehicle. The operation will run in both counties.
The aim is educate drivers about the risks of driving with defective vehicles while also enforcing offences where appropriate.
Collisions tend to increase in October and November with driver error of failing to look properly being the biggest contributing factor along with losing control and poor manoeuvring.
Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of Roads Policing in Norfolk and Suffolk said: “The rise in collisions at this time of year can be down to a number of factors including lighting defects, poorer weather conditions and people not used to driving in the dark. We know that one of the main causes of collisions at this time of year is drivers not looking properly and this operation is about raising awareness among motorists to prevent these incidents from happening.
“These may seem minor issues to some drivers but if you drive a car with one headlight out you are effectively reducing your visibility by half and the chances of being seen. I would encourage drivers to watch their speed, keep a good distance between you and the car in front, and take time to look out for other road users, cyclists and pedestrians.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore said: “Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, we all need to take care all year round and be particularly aware of the dangers that exist as the evenings get darker earlier. I would urge everyone to take a little more care as the clocks go back and for drivers to make sure your vehicle is fit for winter conditions, by making sure lights and windscreen wipers are working and you regularly top up the windscreen wash. If we all make a bit more effort we can continue to make our county’s roads safer for everyone.”
Suffolk County Cllr James Finch said: “During the darker months, it is vital that all those who share the road, whether in a car or on a bike, are visible to each other. We endorse the message that cars need to be fit for the road with suitable tyres and lights. This is also true for bikes, who’s riders need to ensure they are wearing light or reflective clothing and using suitable lights on their bikes to increase visibility to other road users.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Stephen Bett said: “This operation has my full support. I would urge motorists to take heed of the police advice, to look after their vehicles and take extra care as the nights draw in.”
Drivers will be dealt with by way of verbal warnings and vehicle defect rectification notices while in more serious cases police have the power to seize dangerous vehicles at the roadside.