With clocks going back this weekend signalling the return of darker evenings, police are urging all road users and pedestrians to stay safe and be seen.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Unfortunately this year already there have been 58 people killed and many more have been seriously injured in road traffic collisions across Northern Ireland.
“Many of these deaths and serious injuries could have been avoided. Our message is simple; slow down, wear your seatbelt, pay attention to what is happening around you and never drive after drinking or taking drugs.”
“With longer hours of darkness and winter weather, we all need to work together to keep people safe. Road users need to make extra effort to look out for children, pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands where possible to ensure they can be seen. Cyclists should consider wearing a helmet and must use front and rear lights and reflectors.”
Assistant Chief Constable Todd is also urging all road users to check and ensure their vehicles are fit for winter. He said, “Tyres must be in good condition and meet the legal requirement of 1.6mm. A defective tyre at best could lead to a £60 fine and three penalty points on your licence, at worst it could result in catastrophic consequences.
“All lights must be clean, working and correctly adjusted. Remember to use dipped headlights when driving in poor weather. Our advice is that if your vehicle wipers are switched on, so should your dipped headlights.
“If you have fog lights, use them when the weather is foggy, but remember it is illegal to use these lights at other times. Defective lights, or illegal use of fog lights, can result in a £30 fixed penalty notice.
“Windscreen wipers should be in good condition and the washer reservoir should be regularly topped up with a good windscreen wash solution and all windows must be clear of frost before setting off. Listen to the weather and travel advice on the news and if needs be, leave extra time to ensure you and your vehicle are properly prepared for any journey.
“The Police will enforce the law and are determined to make Northern Ireland’s roads safer, but our role is very much secondary.
“We all need to play our part in road safety, especially as it gets darker earlier. Road users must accept their responsibility to think about their actions on the roads and modify their driving to cope with winter conditions. Similarly, pedestrians and cyclists need to see and been seen!”