End of British Summer Time

Dark times ahead


5 October 2009

October November and December are among the worst months for road accidents. Fog, rain and ice play their parts but all the indications are that it is the darker evenings that really cause the problems.


With British Summer time due to end early in the morning of 25th October, the majority are going to have to go home from work in the dark on Monday 26th. So one chore before then is to go out to the car and check all the lights work, checking that you aren't going to swell the numbers of one-eyed monsters that darker evenings always reveal.

This is something to be done well in advance, not the day before, as it is quite possible that you may not be able to replace the bulb yourself and may have to call for professional help. Many police forces will be running enforcement campaigns on vehicle lighting around the end of October.

Cyclists and Pedestrians

The increases in fuel prices seem to have made more people walk and cycle, and these will be in the traffic mix. While many have long learned the value of easily visible clothing some won't have done so and there will surely be some cyclists who won't show lights either. So drivers need to look out.

Adults responsible for children who will be out on the dark evenings need to make sure that they are dressed to be seen. The trend towards more traditional school uniforms can make children harder to see in the dark.

First time at night?

There will also be many people who are experiencing darkness on their journeys for the first time. Some may be new schoolchildren with mum, others new secondary children travelling home alone in the dark for the first time. There will also be new drivers, and those who have driven for many years but never on their current route in the dark. On top of these will be the people who have changed to walking or cycling in the last year. It is a time when we all need to take extra care.

Why change the hour?

Every year there is discussion over whether we need to have the dark evenings in winter and the road and other hazards that accompany it.

Why not change the clocks so mornings are darker and evenings lighter?

From a road safety point of view it would make sense – people tend to go straight to work or school but take less direct routes home – hence we have more casualties in the evenings.

But there are many opponents. Perhaps the time has come to sort it once and for all – and the AA would support a trial change, with a final decision made by Parliament after, say, three years.

It would be the most controversial road safety measure since seat belts – so shouldn't we use the same trial approach as was used for them?

Join the discussion in the AA zone


2 October 2009