Ahead of the clocks going back this Sunday, turning the evening commute darker for drivers, research from Confused.com reveals car accidents peak during the evening rush 4pm – 8pm.
According to new Freedom of Information data, last year alone saw 55,441 accidents take place during the rush-hour period (4-8pm). Between 2013 and 2015 a total of 167,048 accidents were recorded between 4pm and 8pm. 50,780 of these occurred between 5pm and 6pm – an average of 17,000 accidents per year – making this the most dangerous hour to be on the roads.
Further research, commissioned by Wales-based Confused.com, reveals of those drivers who have had an accident in the past, almost one third (31%) say it took place between 4pm and 9pm. It may then come as little surprise the majority of drivers (29%) say evening rush hour is the time of day they least like to be on the road.
|Over the coming months, sunset will be brought forward to as early as 3.51pm, which will be an unwelcome change for a further one fifth (21%) of drivers, who admit they least like driving late in the evening or at night.||It’s exactly 100 year ago we started changing the clocks to make more use of daylight hours in the WW1 food effort|
When asking motorists about their preferred lighting conditions for driving, overall, 42% say they least like being on the road in the dark. However, a gender breakdown uncovers that this equates to over half (51%) of women and just a third (33%) of men. In fact, 42% of women state they do not like driving at night compared to just 24% of men. Women are also more likely to refrain from driving after dark, with almost a third (30%) admitting they have avoided driving at night, compared to 16% of their male counterparts.
Many road users may be well accustomed to driving in the dark, with more than two thirds (68%) driving at night either every day or several times a week. But the data suggests drivers’ reservations about being on the road at night could be linked to reduced or obstructed visibility.
|Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said, “Our research shows that many UK drivers feel less confident when driving at night.
“Commuters especially, who are already having to battle through traffic during the dangerous evening rush hour, must be dreading the darker evenings, which can make the journey home more challenging.”
She added, “Reduced visibility clearly plays a part in motorists’ reservations about driving at night, yet we don’t teach people how to cope with night time conditions as a matter of course. When vision is reduced, tiredness can strike and it can be far harder to spot vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists.
“As the sun begins to set earlier, drivers will need to be extra vigilant on the roads, particularly during evening rush hour as they are at an increased risk of having an accident, which could result in higher insurance premiums.”
| Even though driving examinations in the UK are legally required to include a quick eyesight check to see if drivers can accurately read number plates from a distance, there are no eyesight tests required in the dark or in low levels of light. More than a third (34%) say they find it harder to see when driving at night and over half (51%) say they are often dazzled by other cars with full beams. A quarter of motorists (25%) prefer to only drive on roads that have street lighting.
Despite concerns about night time motoring conditions, learning to drive in the dark is not obligatory, with nearly half (46%) of motorists never having been taught to drive at night. Yet 58% believe it should be compulsory and a quarter (23%) think newly qualified drivers should be accompanied when on the road after dark. Furthermore, a quarter of motorists (25%) agree you should not be allowed to drive at night if you have impaired vision. Meanwhile, 55% believe all drivers should be legally required to have regular eye tests.