Beware: Daylight Savings is Over

In case you missed the memo, daylight savings came to an end on Sunday morning.

This news will be coming a little late to anyone who found themselves running a little behind for work this morning…

…but it’s important to remember that there are a few extra hazards on the roads when it comes to driving post-daylight savings.

It might sound like we’re flogging a dead horse here, but it’s important to remember that there will be little to no daylight on your commute back from work now, with the sun setting as early 16:32 in the most northerly parts of England. This dramatic shortening of daylight is something that should be taken into account by all road users, as your standard commute will feel much different from this week moving forward.

Now I know what you’re thinking here: ‘Daylight savings ends at the same time every year and I’ve managed to get through each one without any kind of problem, why start worrying now?’

Research conducted in both the UK and across the pond has concluded that the simple change of one hour can have a significant effect on the way that we drive and the chances of us having an accident.

Insurance company, Insure the Box, released statistics last year detailing how the risk of having an accident rises by 30% for those driving between the hours of 5-8pm, once daylight savings come to an end. The numbers were based on a study of the company’s own customers. Over 330,000 Insure the Box customers use the company’s telematic system in their cars, allowing them to build up a bank of valuable stats on a wide cross-section of drivers.

For drivers down here in Somerset we’re given a bit more leeway when it comes to length of our days. The sun will be setting in Taunton at 16:50, but it’s important to take into account the low position of the sun when driving back and to use your sun visors where necessary.

This isn’t just a dangerous time for drivers though – fatal road incidents tend to rise between September and December.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have gone on record to say that the current Daylight Savings system is a danger to both drivers and pedestrians. In 2015, fatal road casualties rose from 27 in September to 58 in December. The subtle effect that Daylight Savings has on our circadian rhythms could be one reason for this increase in accidents, but it’s also important to remember that adverse weather conditions are often a contributing factor.

The RoSPA has repeatedly lobbied for a permanent change in the Daylight Savings systems, suggesting a transition to Single/Double Summer Time instead, which would increase evening sunlight all year round. They are convinced that this simple change in the way that our country functions could potentially save hundreds of lives, as the extra hour of sunlight would aid visibility and combat low-levels of concentration that often hamper driving performance later in the day.

Whenever or wherever you’re driving this month, make sure to take it easy and be extra vigilant!