Claims for road accidents in the UK jumped by over a fifth (22%) in the week after the clocks went back in 2021, according to analysis of internal data by Tesco Bank Motor Insurance.
The findings are based on a comparison of the number of Tesco claims in the week before the clocks go back, with the week after.
The clocks in the UK changed on Oct. 30, while they will change in the U.S. on Nov. 6.
“The clocks going back plunges evenings into darkness and as drivers adapt to the changed conditions, there is a rise in the number of road accident claims. Journeys like school pick-ups or heading home from work, usually made in the daylight, are now done at dusk or under the glare of headlights,” said Dave Thompson, claims director at Tesco Bank.
“For anyone using the roads, it’s important to take that extra bit of care as the clocks go back and reduce the chances of a collision. Give other road users more space, leave more time for journeys, and make sure you are visible on the roads. Some pre-winter car maintenance is also a good thing to tick off too, before the temperature drops,” he added.
Thompson provided some tips for safe winter driving:
- Leave some extra space. Weak light or glare from the sun setting at dusk, from about 4pm, can make some colours less distinct. Leave some extra braking distance between you and the vehicle in front so you have extra time to react if you need it.
- Check those lights. Ensure your lights are in full working order. Not only is it illegal to drive at night without fully functioning front and rear lights, it can also be incredibly dangerous. In terms of using your lights, though it may be tempting, do not use your full beams unless absolutely necessary and you are not faced with oncoming traffic as this can impair other drivers. The same applies for your interior lights. Ensure you are using dipped headlights for the rest of your driving in the darker hours, be this morning or night.
- Keep windscreen and all windows clean. Dirt can build up quickly on autumn roads so pay extra attention to keeping all your windows and windscreen clean. And always leave enough time to clear off any condensation. In the colder months windows are more susceptible so make sure to fully demist all your windows that need it.
- Pay extra attention to pedestrian and cyclists. Streetlights can cast shadows on roads, pavements or at road crossings which can hide pedestrians or cyclists. Take extra care on the roads, drive slower around schools and poorly lit areas, and make a conscious effort to double check for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Get your eyes tested. The adjustment your eyes have to make, especially as daylight can turn to night so quickly, can be tricky, and, with the increased difficulty of driving in darkness, it would be wise to get your eyes tested to ensure you aren’t unintentionally causing potential danger to yourself or others.
- Avoid driving tired. This applies all year round, but even more so now. You may have had an extra hour in bed, but we all know that doesn’t always leave us feeling fresher. Driving tired can put both you and other road users in jeopardy, so if you become tired while driving, stop, take a break and set off again when you feel safe to do so.
Source: Tesco Bank
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