Dark times ahead for

drivers

SEAT Ateca, driving in the dark
Night driving

WITH the onset of earlier lighting up times drivers have revealed their fears about driving in the dark.

A survey by Spanish car maker SEAT has shown that some 14 million drivers in Britain feel nervous about night-time trips.

The study comes as road safety group IAM Roadsmart is calling on the Government to scrap the annual clock change saying that the move could save the economy £160 million.

The SEAT study of 2,000 motorists revealed that 31 per cent of drivers actively avoid driving in the dark if possible.

Of those who said driving in the dark makes them nervous, over two thirds - 68 per cent - said this is because they do not like having lower visibility.

Perhaps surprisingly, 18-24-year olds (37 per cent) are most likely to feel nervous about driving in the dark, while experience counts, as only 25 per cent of over 55s have concerns.

Meanwhile, IAM Roadsmart says that scrapping the clock change in October the UK could reduce the number of people killed on our roads by four and a half per cent.

The charity believes that moving to a permanent daylight-saving system would significantly improve road safety, especially for vulnerable road users such as children, pedestrians and cyclists.

"Every year there are unnecessary victims of road collisions throughout the winter months during commutes to work or school which could easily be avoided if the Government scrapped the process of changing the clocks," said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart's policy and research director.

"Young pedestrians under 15 are already a huge ‘at risk' group for road safety, and that risk becomes even greater as the nights draw in.

"Stopping the change of clocks would be easy to implement and, without question, would save lives - there are no good road safety reasons why this isn't happening. The UK should at least set up a two-year trial to prove the benefits once and for all."

In November and December 2019, the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries rose by 344, from 6,787 to 7,131 representing a five per cent increase, compared with the two months prior to the clock change.

Fgures prove that casualty rates rise between 3pm and 7pm as the days shorten. IAM RoadSmart warns that the dark afternoons are an especially dangerous time for youngsters coming home, with less supervision and individuals heading off to different activities at different times during this key period.

To facilitate the improvement, IAM RoadSmart recommended earlier this year that to allow extra daylight in the afternoons, clocks should not be put back in the winter and then move one hour ahead in March, going back one hour in October 2021 - a so called ‘double British summer time'.

In 1968, the UK Government carried out a three-year experiment which saw the clocks not being put back from March until October 1971, essentially staying in summer time for three years.

Throughout the experiment figures were collected at peak times which revealed that around 2,500 fewer people were killed or injured during the winters where the clocks weren't put back, this represented a reduction of nearly 12 per cent.

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