By Mark Cartwright, FTA’s Head of Vans and Light Commercial Vehicles
After a long and arduous winter, the first signs of spring are appearing – lighter evenings, warmer temperatures and blooming flowers. But the changing season can bring challenges which we all need to be aware of to ensure we keep operating safely as spring approaches.
With the sun sitting lower in the sky during the spring months, it is vital that your field of vision is as clear as possible. Around 3,900 people are injured in accidents caused by the blinding effects of the sun each year, according to data from the Department for Transport. Make sure your dashboard is totally clear – no coffee cups, maps, delivery notes or anything else should be on there to get in the way of your view out of the cab. Make sure the glass is clean, inside and out, before setting off, and keep a pair of sunglasses in the cab, as the low angle of the sun can be difficult to deal with at this time of year.
Always use indicators when turning, to ensure that other vehicles are aware of your intentions. Keep alert to other road users too – vulnerable road users like cyclists and motorcyclists can be more difficult to spot when the light is failing, so take extra time to check before pulling out or across traffic. And be aware that reflective road surfaces, combined with damp or wet driving conditions, can make it very difficult to see things clearly, particularly at multi-point junctions or away from main roads with good lighting. Check and check again before manoeuvring to ensure that all road users can keep moving as safely as possible.