While it’s bad enough that we’ll be leaving British Summer Time at the end of the month – as if the weather wasn’t already a clear enough signal – drivers will have to get accustomed once again to doing their daily commutes in the dark, both to and from work as the days get shorter either side of office hours.
While the change in conditions won’t impact too much on experienced drivers, some more vulnerable groups like new drivers and the elderly will find it difficult to adjust, whether from the inexperience of the new or the reduced reaction times of the old.
While a shift in our time zones might not appear at first to be too detrimental to road safety, figures from the Department of Transport suggest that the rate of accidents between 3 and 6pm is significantly higher from October to April – coinciding with the period when clocks are set to GMT.
The earlier sunsets can play havoc with a driver’s vision, especially on icy and wet evenings with all the extra glare, so what can be done to reduce the risks of getting into an accident during the twilight hours?
First of all, in reduced light the main recommendation is to slow down. A poorer field of vision means less time to react to any obstacles – from pedestrians to potholes – so always take care to maximise potential reaction time by lowering your speed.
Secondly, clean your windscreens and windows as thoroughly as possible. Any flecks of dirt, no matter how small, can affect your vision and the amount of glare coming in. Make sure also that your windscreen wiper blades are operating effectively in case of wet weather, and replace them if you feel that they’re not quite doing the job any more.
Replacing anything that’s necessary on your car – whether headlight bulbs or even the battery –can be costly but given the weather it’s always better to ensure that you have the best tools possible with which to do the job of driving.