With the clocks having changed, frost in Hyde Park and first snow on the ground in Scotland, it really feels as though we are heading into winter. For many of us, this means driving to and from work in darkness and on foggy, icy roads.
A recent study by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents found more than 3,000 miles of motorways and trunk roads are in darkness during the evening and 70 %t of the motorway network is not lit at night - this is a concern as they also reported that twice as many crashes on motorways are fatal where there are no street lights.
The reasons behind organisations such as the Highways Agency reducing lighting include environmental as well as economic factors, however driver safety should also be an important factor affecting the decisions. Our own research has found that we are a nation of rather cautious drivers, with over half of British drivers avoiding roads in the dark. Based on the results of the YouGov survey, driving safely in the dark is a concern for most drivers, with 58 % of respondents feeling least safe on rural roads at night. Over half (55 %) say they are less likely to use short cuts in the dark and prefer to stick to well-lit main roads.
Even if breaking down in the dark was the biggest single worry for British drivers (26 %), many (31 %) are still not prepared for emergencies in winter, as they fail to keep a shovel, torch, blanket, phone charger and warm clothes in their car. Considering the likelihood of another snowy winter this year, we recommend you to take 5 minutes after/before work and get your car ready for the winter. Interestingly, it seems that the youngest drivers are the best prepared, with three-quarters carrying essentials in their cars.
With long range weather forecasts predicting we’re in for a colder and wetter winter than average, especially in the south, it is important that we all prepare for long and short journeys, whether planning your route before you set-off, packing essential equipment in case you break down and, of course, programming a quality, non-distracting CoPilot sat nav to avoid losing your bearings in the dark.
We wish you a safe journey in the dark!