POLICE in Banbridge are reminding all motorists to take extra care on the roads as the weather turns colder and conditions become more treacherous.
Banbridge Area Commander, Chief Inspector Ken Mawhinney said: “Driving too quickly for the road conditions is the one of the biggest causes of road collisions during winter.
“Winter weather, the low setting sun and extended hours of darkness can all lead to treacherous driving conditions which also impact on a driver’s ability to judge distance and speed, so we all need to take even greater care on the roads.
“Stopping distances increase greatly when weather conditions are poor, so slow down and leave a bigger gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front.”
Chief Inspector Mawhinney urged all road users to check their vehicles to ensure that there are no defects. “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 simple advice is that if your vehicle wipers are switched on, so should your dipped headlights.
“If you have fog lights, use them at times of reduced visibility, 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 Area Commander went on to remind road users to make extra effort to look for children, pedestrians and cyclists, adding: “Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands where possible to ensure they can be seen.
“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. All road users must accept their responsibility to think about their actions on the roads and modify their driving to cope with winter driving.
“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with more care and attention then fewer people would be killed or seriously injured on our roads.”