Winter is almost here and already we are starting to see the sun coming up later and setting earlier. Coupled with longer hours of darkness, we now also have rigorous load shedding schedules to deal with. For motorists travelling to and from work, the combination can be treacherous.
Making sure the lights on your car are working should be a priority, says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). “Many accidents on our roads could be prevented if all vehicles’ lights were working and motorists used their lights correctly,” he says.
Fortunately replacing faulty lights is a relatively inexpensive job and can be done quickly. “It’s really important that all your lights are working. Lights make you visible to other road users, letting people see what you’re doing, and, of course, light-up the road ahead of you. Checking them regularly should be on your to-do list,” says Ranft.
He recommends getting someone to assist you with the check. “Climb into your car and systematically turn on and off the various lights while someone checks from the outside. Start with your main front lights. Turn them on, then onto brights, dims etc. Then move onto your indicators. Remember that your indicator lights may be on more than one area of the car ie on the sides of the front of the car as well as the side mirrors. Make sure you check all of them. Then move onto the rear of the vehicle,” he says.
Start with the driving lights. “These are the ones that come on when your headlights are on. Then check the brake lights by pressing the brake pedal and checking if both lights come on. Once again check your indicators on both sides. Lastly check your reversing lights by putting the car into reverse gear. Also check that the light above the number plate turns on.”
“If you find that one or more of the lights isn’t working take your car into an accredited MIWA workshop. They will generally be able to replace the bulbs while you wait. Consider speaking to your mechanic about the quality of the bulbs used especially if you drive in the dark a lot. There are special bulbs that are brighter and possibly last longer than standard bulbs although you will pay more for these,” he explains.
Ranft encourages all drivers to be responsible on the roads. “While it’s important to check your lights its just as important to use them correctly. Using your indicators is not optional. Neither is putting on your lights when its dark or getting dark and more than ever now, when many traffic lights are not working during load shedding. Please remember that you are one of many road users. Be responsible and everyone can arrive alive,” he concludes.