There is a dangerous phenomenon on the roads. One that occurs year-round but becomes more noticeable at this time of year when night falls long before five o’clock: people driving at night without any lights on.

I will admit to having done this a couple of times myself, having started my journey in an incredibly brightly-lit car park. But I realised my mistake within a few yards of turning onto the road. I have watched people drive hundreds of yards and out of sight, completely unaware that their car is not illuminated.

Let’s be kind and assume they too started their journeys somewhere brightly lit. Like the entire town of Reading, my home base. They drive off thinking they can see well enough and the need to turn their lights simply doesn’t pop into their head.

But Reading is not so brightly as to turn night into day. These people must be aware that it is dark and yet they still don’t think to turn their lights. Which shows a catastrophic lack of awareness about their car and their surroundings.

Moreover, it shows a borderline psychotic level of selfishness. They may well think they can see far enough, but other people might not be able to see them. Which is at least half the point of having lights on a car in the first place. As the mantra goes: see and be seen.

I am not railing against one or two isolated incidents, here. I see one or two cars – often more – blythely driving along without lights on every single day. If I can, I always draw it to the driver’s attention. I’ve seen all sorts of reactions: sheepishness, excuse making, attempting to laugh it off. Where possible, I leave them in no doubt as to the error of their ways.

Worse would happen if it was the police flagging them down. A charge of driving without due care and attention would probably be the best outcome. It could even fall under dangerous driving.

Whatever the time of year, we’ve all got a rough idea of what time it’s dark by. If you’re getting into your car after that time, the first thing you should do is turn your lights on.

By Only Motors