‘Thousands more crashes a week after clocks change’

The end of British Summer Time (BST) is followed by thousands more road crashes a week, according to new research.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car said over the past five years, demand for replacement vehicles has increased by an average of 8% in the two weeks after the clocks go back, compared with the previous fortnight.

Replacement vehicles are provided to a driver when their own vehicle is being repaired following a collision or fault.

The clocks going back one hour on Sunday at 2am will mean lighter mornings but an earlier sunset, with darkness due to fall at around 4pm in December.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car carried out analysis of Government data which it claimed indicates there could be an additional 10,000 accidents in the two weeks immediately after BST.

The firm’s head of replacement sales for the UK and Ireland Stuart Sandell said: “The clocks going back marks the beginning of the winter driving season and that always presents more risks for drivers.

“As a lot of people get caught out in the weeks immediately afterwards and on into November, we would advise everyone to take special care when they drive after the clocks go back.

“Many more people are relying on a car as their main mode of travel since Covid-19.

Traffic in the fog
Traffic in the fog

“Many may be driving older, potentially less well-maintained vehicles with less modern safety equipment, and they are likely to be less accustomed to driving in dark, wet, icy conditions.

“Many drivers will also have chosen to defer their MOT due to Covid-19, which could further increase the risks.”

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart estimated that annual road deaths in the UK could be cut by 4.5% by scrapping the October clock change.

It pointed to November and December 2019, which saw pedestrian and cyclist deaths rise to 7,131 – an increase of 344 on the two months before the clock change.

Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Every year there are unnecessary victims of road collisions throughout the winter months during commutes to work or school which could easily be avoided if the Government scrapped the process of changing the clocks.

“Young pedestrians under 15 are already a huge ‘at risk’ group for road safety, and that risk becomes even greater as the nights draw in.”