I hope you all remembered about the hour change on Sunday morning and appreciated that additional hour in bed. The end of British Summer Time (BST) results in the start of dark evenings and many people will be embarking on their journey home from school or work in the dark.
The darkness causes additional travel risks, not least to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. A very large percentage of our schoolchildren are required to wear black or navy school uniforms and coats and are difficult for drivers to see on dark, wet nights. Children will wear their hoods up and may not be paying close attention to the traffic on the roads, as they hurry home in the rain.
The dark evenings also pose additional risks to cyclists and motorcyclists, especially on dark country roads which are not lit by street lighting. Wet roads increase stopping distances, and cars and bikes skid easily on slippery surfaces.
Research has shown that the number of accidents on our roads increases dramatically with the end of BST. The National Audit Office has estimated that the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents increases by 10% in the first 4 weeks after the clocks go back, and the number of road casualties generally, peaks in the hour after sunset.
Sadly, we act in a large number of cases where the darkness has been a contributing factor in the accident occurring. Pedestrians and cyclists are very vulnerable, and sadly the injuries sustained by them, when involved in collisions with vehicles, can be life changing and heart breaking.
There is no better advice than Be safe, be seen! Wear reflective clothes or bands when walking or cycling and take extra care when driving in dark, wet conditions.
Nikki McConnell is a Partner with Worthingtons Solicitors and is head of the Litigation Department in our Newtownards office. Nikki has considerable experience of representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in a wide variety of litigious matters, including Public and Employers Liability cases, Road Traffic Accidents and Medical Negligence actions. Nikki can be contacted on 02891811538 or email firstname.lastname@example.org