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Operation Dark Nights

Police in Suffolk 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 go back on Sunday (27 October).

Officers will be carrying out roadside checks throughout the next two weeks focusing on defect offences involving lights, tyres, windscreens and screen wash and anything else which may impact on the roadworthiness of a vehicle.

The aim is educate drivers about the risks of driving with defective vehicles while also enforcing offences where appropriate. The operation which launched Monday 21 October will run in both counties for two weeks ending on Monday 4 November.

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 Kris Barnard, head of the joint roads policing unit, said: “We often see a rise in collisions at this time of year which can be due to a number of factors including lighting defects, poorer weather conditions and people not used to driving in the dark.

“When the lighting outside changes, drivers often fail to look properly, this can lead to a rise in collisions. This operation is about raising awareness among motorists to prevent these incidents from happening.

“As part of this operation we will be checking the safety of vehicles, educating drivers and enforcing the law where necessary and appropriate.

“If you drive a car with one headlight out you are effectively reducing your visibility by half and the chances of being seen are a lot slimmer.

“It is important to make sure your vehicle is fit for winter conditions; make sure lights and windscreen wipers are working, that your tyres have sufficient tread and regularly top up the windscreen wash.”

“We advise 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.”

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said, “As the days get shorter and the evenings draw-in we should all be a little more aware of our personal safety and this includes keeping ourselves safe on the road too.

“As the clocks go back this weekend, I’d like to remind all drivers to take a few extra minutes to do some basic checks to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy. Checking tyres, lights and windscreen wipers will make a real difference to keeping you safe this winter.”

Drivers who fail to follow these guidelines may receive a fine and points on their licence, the most serious cases may result in court action, Police also have the power to prohibit the use of unroadworthy vehicles at the roadside.

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