Road accidents jump 8% in week after the clocks go back, says Tesco Bank Car Insurance

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Claims for road accidents jump 8% in the week after the clocks go back, according to analysis of internal data by Tesco Bank Car Insurance.

The findings are based on data from 2013 to 2019 (and exclude 2020 due to the impact of Covid on driving behaviour and patterns), which compares the number of claims in the week before the clocks go back, with the week after. This year, clocks went back an hour on 31 October.

Based on the findings, Tesco Bank has urged drivers to take extra care on the roads and shared its tips on winter driving.

Julian Hartley, insurance director at Tesco Bank, said: “It can take a while to adapt to the winter shift as the clocks go back. Arriving and leaving work in the dark, school runs done at dusk and evening activities under the glare of lights means that everyone using the roads needs to take a bit of additional care.”

“Giving people extra time and space, making sure you are visible, and undertaking some vehicle maintenance are just a few simple steps that will reduce your risk of a winter collision.”

Tesco Bank’s winter driving tips

  • Leave some extra space: Weak light or glare from the sun setting at dusk, from about 4pm, can make some colours less distinct. Leave some extra braking distance between you and the vehicle in front so you have more time to react if you need it. 
  • Check those lights: Ensure your lights are in full working order. Not only is it illegal to drive at night without fully functioning front and rear lights, it can also be incredibly dangerous. If you find any bulbs to be faulty, get them changed as soon as possible. In terms of using your lights, though it may be tempting, do not use your full beams unless absolutely necessary and you are not faced with oncoming traffic as this can impair other drivers. The same applies for your interior lights. Ensure you are using dipped headlights for the rest of your driving in the darker hours, be this morning or night. 
  • Keep windscreen and all windows clean: Dirt can build up quickly on autumn roads so pay extra attention to keeping all your windows and windscreen clean. You should also regularly check your screen wash, making sure it is sufficiently topped up before making any journeys. In the colder months, windows are more susceptible to condensation so make sure you leave time to fully demist all your windows that need it. 
  • Pay extra attention to other road users: Streetlights can cast shadows on roads, pavements or at road crossings which can hide pedestrians or cyclists. Take extra care on the roads, drive slower around schools and poorly lit areas, and make a conscious effort to double check for cyclists and pedestrians. 
  • Get your eyes tested: The adjustment your eyes have to make, especially as daylight can turn to night so quickly, can be tricky, and, with the increased difficulty of driving in darkness, it would be wise to get your eyes tested to ensure you aren’t unintentionally causing potential danger to yourself or others. 
  • Avoid driving tired: This applies all year round, but even more so now. You may have had an extra hour in bed, but we all know that doesn’t always leave us feeling fresher. Driving tired can put both you and other road users in jeopardy, so if you become tired while driving, stop, take a break and set off again when you feel safe to do so.
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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk