Get Daylighted, urges road safety officer

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 per cent, according to Mayo County Council's road safety officer, Noel Gibbons. This is why Mayo County Council, An Garda Siochána, and the HSE in Mayo have started the 'Daylighted' campaign. The campaign aims to promote the use of dipped headlights when driving during daylight hours. 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."

According to the campaign: "Most of us drive with dipped headlights 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 per cent less."

The three organisations involved have produced a series of leaflets and car stickers for their staff to encourage their participation. Noel Gibbons says it is common for drivers to use fog lights in the rain or in the dark hours of the early mornings and early evenings during winter. "It's not OK and the legislation clearly states that fog lights can only be used in conditions where visibility is severely reduced such as in heavy fog and snow. It does not include clear conditions during the hours of darkness. Fog lights don't illuminate the road and don't make cars more visible to oncoming traffic. Unlike headlights, fog lights do not provide directional light and only illuminate the area of road immediately in front of the car. This is helpful only when driving very slowly in heavy fog or whiteout conditions. Fog lights also dazzle oncoming drivers when they are used in conditions that are not hampered by fog or snow."

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