Operation Dark Nights isn’t what you might think!

Police will be keeping an eye out to make sure we are taking care of our cars this winter Photograph

Police will be keeping an eye out to make sure we are taking care of our cars this winter Photograph: KEITH MINDHAM EADT 22 12 03

Mark Murphy suggests we use the extra hour in bed to check our cars - why don’t we do that these days?, he wonders

Don't forget the clocks change tonight, spring forward and fall back, so if I'm correct that means we get an extra hour in bed!

If you work odd hours like me you'll know how precious that extra hour is.

It also means the nights will really pull in now, as the winter darkness descends, it's time to hunker down a bit or as the Scandinavians say Hygge.

If you haven't come across the word, it's Norwegian and Danish for a mood of cosiness, comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.

Basically that means in my case snuggling down in front of the telly with the fire on and a cheeky glass of red.

It's also sadly the time of the year that accidents increase on our roads and this week Suffolk police launched Operation Dark Nights to do something about it.

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Apart from sounding like the title of a Batman movie it's designed to make us motorists get our cars ready for winter.

They are particularly keen to make sure ALL our lights are working and it can't come soon enough. Callers to my BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast show were in full support of the campaign.

There's no doubt that changing a bulb in your car is not as easy as it used to be but it's not that hard.

Judging by the number of vehicles I see every day you'd think it was impossible.

It's not like we don't know they're out, many vehicles now have warning lights on the dashboard and even if they don't it's easy to spot.

Lots of my callers were saying that these cars with a headlamp not working look like a motorbike and it can't be easy for drivers to see the road ahead with one out either.

My colleague Luke Deal spent an hour standing by St Matthews Street roundabout in Ipswich counting the vehicles with lights out.

In one hour between 7.15am and 8.15am when it was still dark he spotted 27 vehicles with no lights on, 6 with a front or rear light not working, 10 with front lights only on and 8 cyclists with no lights or reflective clothing.

So if that's anything to go by I think the police have got a lot of people to catch and have a word with.

The police will also be stopping vehicles and checking tyres and if you have a defective one it'll be points on your licence.

I think these days a lot of us just jump into our vehicles and off we go. Cars are certainly more reliable than they used to be but we really should make sure they're roadworthy.

When I was young my dad would always be checking his tyre pressures and depths. The oil level and washer level would be topped up and he'd make me walk around the car to check his lights.

If he was really keen he'd adjust the tappets too! He'd also throw a bag of cement in the boot to give the car more grip in the snow! With a rear wheel drive Car, it's something I still do.

We also ought to be checking our anti-freeze levels as the winter sets in and making sure we've got the basics in our boot like a torch, warning triangle and reflective jacket.

Now it seems a lot of us don't even know how to lift the bonnet up and do the most minor of things.

The police can't be everywhere and frankly they have more important things to deal with.

Perhaps with the extra hour we gain from the clocks changing we could all have a look over our motors tomorrow.

Although you might think a bag of cement is a bit too much!

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