It’s official – we’re nearly at the end of October.  It’s time to wave bye-bye to British Summer Time (BST).  Depending on where you live in the UK, some could argue summer never really started. But regardless, here we are, getting ready for the clocks to go back on Sunday 29 October at 2am.

Luckily for us, our phones and mobile devices update their time seamlessly.  So, when we wake up it’s like that extra hour never even happened.  Apart from the lie-in of course. But the effect on our bodies, brains and behaviour can be slightly more complex. Research shows that disrupted body rhythm has an impact on concentration and cognition and may lead to fatigue, which can increase the risk of accidents.[1]

The witching hours

So, what does our data tell us?  As the nights draw in, the accident rate for our customers goes up by a third (31%) between 5pm-8pm in October and November.  There could be a whole host of reasons for this – from lack of sunlight affecting visibility to weather impacting braking distances. And there can be increased hazards when driving ‘on the dark side’.  Like the glare of car headlights or ice on the roads.

But it doesn’t all spell bad news for drivers

Here’s the good news. There are steps we can take to make us safer. So as the nights get darker, let’s lighten the load with some seasonal travel tips:

  • Stay squeaky clean: Wash windows and wing mirrors to avoid increased glare.
  • Be switched on: This is not just for nighttime – use your headlights when weather makes it harder to see.
  • Slow it down: Drive below the speed limit to give you more reaction time.
  • Keep an eye out: Be aware of cyclists, and people crossing at junctions. If they’re wearing dark clothing, they can be more difficult to spot.
  • Feel the pressure: Check your tyres regularly and keep the air pressure right. How do you know the best levels for your car? Take a look in your handbook, on the inside of the driver car door, or on fuel filler cap.  And, as we sit all snug in the driver’s seat, remember that tyres are in constant contact with the road, and the elements.  Come rain, hail, or shine, they are there to support us.  So, they need a bit of nurturing in return.
  • Watch the clock: To avoid being spooked when the nights draw in, be prepared that sunset will happen around 4pm in coming weeks.
  • Be careful in the countryside: Look out for animals crossing in front of your car and potholes in the road. Both can take you by surprise on rural routes.

And don’t be haunted by regret

Taking a few small steps can make a huge difference to our driving.  There’s a whole combination of factors involved in being safer on the road.  And it can bring rewards.  Customers can check Your Portal to keep track of your progress.  Your driving score impacts the price you pay on renewal and can earn you Bonus Miles.

Remember, the safer you drive, the further you’ll go.