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Drivers warned about risk of £5,000 fine as clocks go back this weekend


DRIVERS could face a £5,000 fine if they’re not careful as the clocks go back this weekend.

Motorists are being urged to remember to switch on their headlights when driving in the dark or risk up to 9 points on their license as well as forking out for the fine.

Make sure you switch your headlights on if you set off in the dark, or risk a fine

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Make sure you switch your headlights on if you set off in the dark, or risk a fineCredit: Getty

As of Sunday October 31, the clocks will go back one hour, which will bring a welcome lie in for many

So for the rest of the year and start of 2022 we should see somewhat lighter mornings, but it means the evenings will e darker, especially around the time most Brits will be making the commute back home.

The hours of daylight will be progressively shorter as we head to the winter solstice on December 23, 2021, so it’s more important than ever over the next few months to get into a habit of being vigilant on the roads in the dark.

It’s not only the fines and penalty points to be wary of as it gets dark, but there’s a greater risk of getting into an accident everytime you set off on a nighttime journey too.

What could I be fined for?

If you get caught driving without headlights on in the dark you could be charged with “Driving Without Due Care And Attention” – you could even be summoned to court if the circumstances of the charge can’t be covered by a fixed penalty.

While everybody knows you need to switch your lights on before driving in the dark, it’s easy to get out of the habit over the sunny summer months. 

Plus if you haven’t been using your headlights much recently, you might have missed any blown bulbs or damaged covers that make your car harder to spot at night. 

If stopped by police with a broken light, you could be given a penalty of £100, without penalty points being added to your licence.

This could rise to £1,000 if challenged in court. 

But if you are found to be driving a vehicle in a “dangerous” condition, you could be issued a penalty of up to £2,500 and three points. 

And in severe cases, a fine of up to £5,000 and up to nine penalty points could be issued. 

Modern car headlights ‘blow’ very rarely, especially in comparison to traditional filament bulbs, but they tend to be much harder for the home mechanic to replace.

Few households have the tools or technical know-how required to replace a bulb on the latest car models, and the job can be expensive at garages.

I thought my lights came on automatically?

Many modern cars are fitted with daytime running lights, also known as DRLs.

These ensure that the front lights are partially illuminated at all times when the car is running, enhancing visibility in low-light conditions. 

But these normally only switch on the front lights, rather than the rears, making it difficult for drivers to know whether the back of their car is lit at all.

The way to spot this is that the dashboard will normally be partially illuminated, which can give drivers the impression that their lights are all on when they are actually not.

In addition to the heightened risk of crashes from behind, drivers who rely too heavily on their car’s automatic systems and who fail to switch on all their lights, could be at risk of fines.

How can I make sure I’m safe on the roads?

Experts suggest that you should get into the habit of turning on your headlights around half an hour before the sun sets, that way they’ll be ready to go if the daylight quickly dissapears on your way home.

They suggest that if you can’t see further than 100 metres, you should use dim headlights too.

While there are still a few more hours of light in the day this weekend before the clocks change, give your car a once over and check for faults.

That way you won’t get caught short when the nighttime comes quicker than you’re used to.

As the time changes from 2am on Sunday, back to 1am again, it’s worth taking the time to change the clocks in your car too.

Many won’t do this automatically unlike your phone, computer or telly might.

It’s an important step, as it could be the thing you rely on to keep track of time on the way to work, and you don’t want to be caught speeding to make up for reading the clock wrong as this could lead to more fines and penalty points.

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