Road accidents spike as clocks go back
Drivers are being advised to take extra care during their commutes after turning the clocks back. Internal data analysis from Tesco Bank Motor Insurance shows that claims for road accidents jumped by 22% in the week after the clocks turned back in 2021.
Additionally, data from Enterprise-Rent-A-Car indicates that road accidents increase by as much as 10% in the two weeks following. The data also shows that the demand for replacement cars, trucks and vans increased by 10% in the two weeks immediately following the clocks going back in 2021. This was compared to the demand for replacement vehicles in the two weeks beforehand.
Enterprise is the UK’s largest provider of replacement or courtesy rentals. It works alongside motor insurers to provide rental vehicles for business and private drivers who have had an accident and still require access to a vehicle.
Road accidents are already more common in the winter months due to unfavourable driving conditions. These conditions includes low sun at peak commuting times, shorter days, darker mornings and evenings, slippery roads and poor weather conditions following the end of British Summer Time. It can also be due to body clock patterns being disrupted, with commuters reporting feeling more tired as they adjust to the time change.
There are also significantly more vehicles on the roads, which may lead to more collisions. Department for Transport data shows that the car traffic is nearing pre-pandemic levels and truck and van traffic has already exceeded those levels.
Stuart Sandell, head of replacement sales for the UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car explains that “Many people are now either back in the office full-time or coming in several days a week, and they’ll be driving home in darker, more wintry conditions in the days after the clocks go back. A 5.30pm journey home in the twilight suddenly becomes a more treacherous journey home in the dark.”
“We advise drivers to put extra focus on vehicle condition and maintenance during the winter, especially if you’re driving an older vehicle or extending service and maintenance cycles to keep costs down. Allowing extra time and planning your trip carefully will help to reduce risk, while carrying a few essentials in the car will help if you do break down or have an incident.”
“We’re also advising businesses that allow employees to drive their own cars for business trips to ensure they check on the maintenance of those vehicles and consider alternative forms of transport where possible.”
This increase in incidents may also mean that motorists may be waiting longer to get back into their car after an accident, especially if they need a courtesy or replacement car. It is advised to keep an emergency kit with essentials in your vehicle, in the case that you break down or have an accident.
It is important to remain vigilant and stay prepared for driving in the autumn and winter months. Some driving tips include:
- Prepare your vehicle by having it regularly serviced and maintained
- Make sure the lights are clean and working
- Ensure the tyre condition and tread depth and pressure are at acceptable levels
- Check the brakes are working well and the fluids are topped up (especially the windscreen wash)
- Prepare beforehand and plan your route and use the shortest, most direct route
- Drive with extra caution, especially in poor conditions or on slippery roads
- Keep your distance from the driver in front, and extend this distance when the weather conditions are bad
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