Turning off streetlights

M4 lights out will catch some drivers unaware

25 March 2009

The Highways agency are turning off some street lights between midnight and 5am

Turning off streetlights between midnight and 5am along a section of the M4 approaching the Severn Bridge may initially catch some drivers by surprise, warns the AA.

From 25 March, although there are warning signs on the approaches to the Junction 21-22 stretch, the lights will go off suddenly at midnight, without any dimming.

"The AA believes that the Highway Agency has taken all reasonable steps to justify and inform drivers of the switch-off and that, after the initial acclimatisation period, regular travellers will get used to it. However, it's a bit unfortunate that the agency has picked a first night with no moon," says Paul Watters, the AA's head of road and transport policy.

The AA says that the Highways Agency must monitor the impact of the switch-off on accidents, other incidents and driver reactions. It also believes that the agency should limit streetlight switch-offs to low traffic flow and low accident risk areas, and also develop low energy and light spread limiting systems.

The AA remains, however, sceptical of the benefits of turning off streetlights in residential areas, particularly if residents object.

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26 March 2009