Posted in Connect on October 21, 2019.

As we prepare to gain an extra hour’s sleep this weekend, with the clocks going back at 2am on Sunday, October 27th, the days are getting shorter as darkness falls earlier.

Imagine that if all drivers in Ireland used their dipped headlights when driving during the day we could reduce the number of collisions on Irish roads by 20%.

This is why Mayo County Council, An Garda Siochána and the HSE in Mayo have started the “Daylighted” campaign (Daylighted Day on Sunday 27th October  )

“Daylighted” is a campaign to promote the use of dipped headlights when driving during daylight hours and for other road users to brighten up, in particular students walking to bus stops dressed in dark clothing. These organisations are encouraging their staff to “light up” and improve their own safety on the road and that of other road users.

A spokesperson for the group said “For most staff working in our organisations a road collision is perhaps one of the biggest health and safety risks they face. Most drive to and from work and a significant number drive as part of their job. As employers Mayo County Council and the HSE in Mayo feel that this is an important health and safety initiative.”

From what we know about daytime road collisions half of them happen because drivers do not see other cars quickly enough. Turning your lights on makes it easier for other road users to see your car too. They see you more quickly so they can react faster. They are also less likely to take risks on the road as they can judge speed and distance more accurately.

While most of us drive with dipped head lights when it is raining or getting dark to make sure our cars can be seen by others, less of us at other times of day.  Evidence from other countries proves that if drivers use dipped headlights during the day – even a bright clear one – then across the EU we could save up to 5,000 lives and prevent 155,000 injuries each year. Even when a road collision occurs then if either vehicle is using dipped headlights the damage to the vehicles could cost up to 69% less.

“We hope that this initiative will also encourage all drivers to use dipped headlights during the day and help protect themselves and their families on the roads.

“Many people feel that using their lights in daytime increases fuel consumption and shortens battery and bulb life. It is true that fuel economy is slightly affected but it has no effect on the battery and a negligible effect on bulb life. However, the benefits for all of us far outweigh the small cost”,  a spokesperson said.

Mayo Co Council and the HSE in Mayo are launching the “Daylighted”  campaign. It is hoped that this will significantly improve staff safety and encourage all road users to “light up”.

While we are asking people to use their lights we also are asking them to use them correctly:

Here are some tips to prepare drivers and riders for driving in the twilight zone from Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council

  • Familiar routes can pose totally different challenges in the dark, so make sure you are wide awake and looking out for pedestrians and cyclists in the gloom.
  • Check your car lights. They are there for your safety and those around you. Do a daily walk around to check all lights are working and use a wall or garage door to check the rear lights if you are on your own. Changing a bulb on a modern car is often a garage-only job, so get it done before the Gardai stop you and issue a ticket or repair notice.
  • As well as being seen, you need to see so get an eyesight check-up. It is vital to have your sight checked regularly as this may heavily affect your night vision. With age your eyes take in less light, no matter how fit you may feel, so be aware of your limitations.
  • Don’t blind me! One of the biggest night-time hazards is the dazzle affect caused by the bright light from oncoming motors. Dip your headlights when you meet other vehicles.
  • Carry a basic emergency kit. Anything can happen at night and it is important to be prepared. Having a tool kit, torch, map and a first aid kit – if you don’t have one already – can make a real difference.
  • A fully charged mobile with the details of your breakdown cover is another must.

Also just to remind agricultural vehicle drivers not to drive with the plough lights switched on when driving on the road as this too can dazzle drivers. Rear mounted work lamps – Rear mounted work lamps or plough lamps are designed to facilitate fieldwork operations during darkness. Displaying work lamps on the public road dazzles other drivers and is contrary to lighting regulations and drivers can be prosecuted. Hazard indicators can only be used while the vehicle is stationary.


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