Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Road safety advice for when the clocks go back

By Graham Evans
Practice Leader - Risk Solutions

The clocks go back one hour on Sunday 27th October, and with the change comes an increase in road risk.

As nights draw in and the weather gets colder, the UK typically sees a rise in the number of road accidents and injury, due to factors such as cyclists and pedestrians being harder to see and drivers feeling more tired after a day’s work.

Road safety charity Brake advises that serious and fatal pedestrian collisions increase by 10% in the four weeks after the clocks go back. And figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that in 2017 the casualty rate for all road users increased from 520 per billion vehicle miles in October to 580 per billion vehicle miles in November.

Understand the risks

Road users need to understand the risks and focus efforts on being responsible drivers.

Vehicle maintenance is especially important at this time of year, with a need for checks on the condition of the vehicle to include:

  • Are anti-freeze levels adequate?
  • Are tyre tread depths legal and are tyres properly inflated?
  • Are all lights working?
  • Are all lights and windows clean?
  • Is the vehicle serviced and in good condition?

As well as the vehicle, driving in twilight (the period between sunset and dusk) means that eyes have to constantly adapt to the reducing light levels. This is when drivers can realise they may have an issue with their eyesight as they struggle to see traffic signs and suffer with glare from oncoming vehicle lights. An eyesight check at this time of year is a good idea.

Some other safety tips

  • Check the expected weather conditions before you drive
  • Check screen wash level in the washer bottle
  • Take more breaks when you’re on a longer journey
  • Adapt your driving, slow down and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front
  • Make sure you can be seen. Turn your headlights on an hour before sunset and keep them on an hour after sunrise
  • Be alert to the likelihood of children playing in areas of poor light
  • Watch out for cyclists and take extra care by schools and colleges
  • Dim your dashboard lights and refrain from leaving your map reading light on

And finally, hopefully you won’t experience any vehicle problems, but if you do break down, find a safe and well-lit place to stop. Leave your hazard warning lights on and find a safe place to stand away from the vehicle to wait for help. And with temperatures dropping it’s also important that you try to stay warm.

You can find out more about how QBE helps businesses to manage risk at