Clocks change signals rise in car accidents

From: Car Accident Advice Line
Published: Mon Oct 31 2005

As the clocks change and Britain reverts back to GMT, the number of car accidents increases dramatically. The darker mornings and nights hold dangers for commuters making trips between home and work and also for children travelling to and from school.

The combination of darkness and the winter makes for treacherous conditions on the roads, with higher rainfall and colder nights causing fog and ice. Many new drivers may not have much experience in driving in these conditions, and studies show that they are twice as likely as a more experienced driver to be involved in a car accident as a result of bad driving conditions.

The highest road accident casualty figures for the year are found between November and January, with over 600 deaths in the last two months of the year. Most at risk are pedestrians, especially children, with a 36% fatality increase in November and December. Pavements and roads are slippery in the winter, and it is harder to see pedestrians walking in the dark, leaving them vulnerable.

Alison Merson of Car Accident Advice Line says on the matter:

"We see a 10% rise in car accident claims between October and November, which we attribute to the poorer driving conditions. In 2004, the day we took the most calls from drivers who had been involved in accidents was November 25th, which followed a cold snap, and poor visibility and ice were factors in many of the accident claims we took that day."

Over the years there have been numerous bills put forward in Parliament suggesting that British Summer Time should be used all year round so that evenings would be lighter in the winter, thus preventing more car accidents. There was a trial between 1968 and 1971 where the clocks were not put back to GMT, and an 11% decrease in casualties was found.

However, there may have been other reasons for this decrease – the 70 mph speed limit and breath testing were also introduced at this time. The number of car accident casualties in the mornings increased, but the reduction in early evening casualties far outweighed them.

Many people feel that extending British Summer Time all year round is a viable option and claim the afternoon light will prevent up to 450 serious injuries and deaths on the road each year. Not all are convinced though, with farmers and postal workers arguing that they would lose hours of early morning daylight, affecting their work.


Editorial notes: Car Accident Advice Line provides no cost, no fee compensation to people who have been injured in accidents that were not their fault. For free legal advice about making a claim, either go to or call 0808 143 43 42.

Author: Alexandra Gubbins of Car Accident Advice Line. For more information, please go to
Company: Car Accident Advice Line
Contact Name: Alexandra Gubbins
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 0808 143 43 42

Visit website »