Beware a trio of dangers now the clocks have gone back

Posted on October 31st, 2016 by GEM Motoring Assist

Trick or treating in the dark

GEM Motoring Assist is warning road users of three significant dangers accompanying what it calls the ‘pointless task’ of putting the clocks back.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth comments: “We are seriously concerned that there will be a lot of crashes and injuries this year.

For a start, the clocks have gone back at the end of the half-term break, not the beginning. This means that no one will be used to the dark evenings which will immediately affect the end of the school day. In recent years children and parents have usually had a week of half term to get themselves used to the earlier darkness, but not this year. Around 50 per cent more fatal and serious injury collisions occur in the evening rush hour than in the morning.

Next, forecasts indicate continued high pressure and clear weather with the probability of fog forming after dark.

Finally, today is of course Hallowe’en. This means that not only will children be vulnerable at the end of the school day and through the evening rush hour, but they are also likely to be out trick-or-treating in larger numbers than ever. For children, many of whom will not be accompanied by an adult, the priority for the evening will be on collecting sweets and treats rather than ensuring their own safety on the road.”

GEM regrets the intransigent UK Government position on maintaining the long-held rule of returning to Greenwich Mean Time for the coming five months of winter.

“Experts estimate 80 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries would be prevented on the UK’s roads each year. According to the Home Office, there would also be a three per cent reduction in crime,” adds Neil Worth. “Putting the clocks back is a pointless task from which the vast majority of people in this country draw no benefit. It’s time the UK Government sees sense and puts the safety and security of its citizens first in this respect.”

GEM has assembled an easy-to-follow selection of tips to help reduce collisions in time of dusk and darkness:

• Remove steam, mist condensation, dirt and ice from lights, windows and mirrors
• In foggy or wet conditions, slow down and used dipped headlights.
• Be ready for the effects of glare from low winter sun, which can reduce visibility. In some circumstances, especially in the late afternoon, glare can leave you with no forward vision at all. Reflected glare from wet roads can also seriously compromise what you’re able to see.
• Don’t delay switching on your lights. Even if your view of the road ahead is good, you may be much less visible to other road users, especially if you drive a dark-coloured vehicle.
• Check your children are wearing something that will help them be seen easily, especially when it’s dark. Fluorescent, bright clothing works best by day, but reflective material is needed when it’s dark.

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