DRIVING in winter is far more dangerous than at other times of the year when plummeting temperatures set in.

One of the biggest problems is visibility, as rain and fog become more common out on the road.

Cars parked at night are often a hazard to drivers in winter

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Cars parked at night are often a hazard to drivers in winterCredit: Getty – Contributor

The poor weather and misted windows make it hard enough to see cars with their lights on.

But trying to make out parked cars in the dark during winter is even more problematic.

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But there’s a little-known feature on many cars that will help – and it involves a single switch.

Given it could be the difference between seeing and not seeing a parked car in the dark, it could save a driver’s life.

Most cars are equipped with parking lights front and back, which you can legally leave on while parked up to keep your car visible.

Parking lights are the side lights within your light cluster and are designed to be used for long periods without draining your battery.

In most modern cars you’ll find the parking light control on the same switch as your headlights. The symbol looks like this:

In most cars, you'll find this symbol on the same switch as your headlights

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In most cars, you’ll find this symbol on the same switch as your headlights

On some cars, selecting this and leaving your indicator in either direction before switching off your engine will activate the parking lights on that side.

But there are also laws around parking lights that many drivers don’t know.

According to the Highway Code, there are certain circumstances where drivers must use parking lights or face a fine.

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It says that all vehicles must display parking lights when parked on a road (or lay-by) with a speed limit of over 30mph.

If the road has a speed limit of 30mph or less, you don’t need to leave on your sidelights, as long as:

  • your spot is a recognised parking bay or lay-by, or
  • you’re facing in the direction of the traffic flow, close to the kerb, and at least 10 metres from the nearest junction
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