'Fall Back'

AA advice as the clocks go back for the winter

many will commute in the dark for the first time this week

29 October 2010

This week sees motorists return to commuting home in the dark as the clocks go back. However, for around half a million new drivers this will be the first time they have had to do this commute with their lights on and could be the first time some have regularly driven in the dark.

New drivers

Simon Douglas, Director of AA Driving School, says, "For new drivers, this week's darker evenings could see them hitting the rush hour in the dark for the first time. This makes their journey very different and may take some time to get used to. Also, for those who work in well lit areas, they must remember to turn on their lights as they leave work.

without any reflective clothing they can be invisible to motorists especially in poorly lit areas "It will also be only a few weeks until the morning journey will also be dark – this together with wet and icy road conditions could prove very testing for these new drivers."

Children

The AA also advises that children who walk or ride to school should take extra care. With the sun rising as late as 08.00 and setting between 15.50 and 16.40 over the coming months, the walk or cycle to school can become very different to the light summer journeys.

Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs, says: "Children, especially those who have recently started a new school, may well have started walking or cycling to school on their own for the first time. With the clocks going back they may now be doing this new journey in the dark. Parents should ensure not only that the children and their bikes are suitably visible but also that the route they use is the safest available."

Pedestrians

It's not just children, however, that need to take care, adult pedestrians are also at risk.

Paul Watters adds, "Many adults ensure that their children have the correct reflective clothing and then head out in their own dark coats without thinking of their own safety. No matter how big the pedestrian is, without any reflective clothing they can be invisible to motorists especially in poorly lit areas.

Some simple steps such as a reflective armband or even light-coloured clothing can help save lives. Carrying a torch on a particularly dark and hazardous route improves the chances of being spotted by a car."

Breakdowns

In addition, Paul Leather, AA Patrol of the Year says: "The darker mornings and nights also mean that there will be more breakdowns taking place when it is dark. As patrols, we're used to being out at all times of the night. However, this could be the first time many motorists experience breaking down at night."

"In the event of breaking down in the dark, motorists should try to stop in a safe, well lit place, put on their hazard lights to warn other road users and then wait in a safe place away from the vehicle for the AA to arrive. If you have any reflective clothing, it's always advisable to wear this at the roadside."

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1 November 2010