Clocks go back this Sunday, and we all know what that means - an extra hour in bed! However, it also means something a little more sinister too. Research has revealed that road accidents and fatal road accidents increase by up to 10% in the two weeks following the end of British Summer Time, and multiple organisations are looking to change it.
The switch from GMT to BST in the spring takes the clocks forward one hour, to give our mornings less daylight, and our evenings more, taking the clocks back this weekend reverses this effect, meaning our evening's end up being much darker. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s this that directly causes the spike in accidents, but the increase can categorically be marked to this change.
Numerous charities, including the likes of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and 10:10, have supported the introduction of ‘Single/Double Summer Time’ (SDST), which would bring our time-zone in line with France, Germany and Mainland Spain. Giving us lighter evenings throughout the year, and putting us ahead of GMT by two hours in the summer.
The trial of GMT+1 that occurred in 1968-71 under Prime Minister Harold Wilson revealed that while there had been an increase in casualties in the morning, there had been a substantially greater decrease in the evenings, resulting in approximately 2,500 fewer deaths or serious injuries as a result of driving in the first two winters of the experiment. Despite the success, it was voted out as it was coinciding with the Drink Driving Legislation, and RoSPA and 10:10 are calling for another experiment in modern conditions.
SDST isn’t without it’s flaws however, with it’s drastically later mornings in the Summer parts of Northern Scotland wouldn’t see sunrise until 10am, meeting strong opposition from a number of Scottish politicians, with SNP Angus McNeil claiming that the introduction of such schemes would have “massive implications for the safety and wellbeing of everyone living north of Manchester”.
Currently the government have no plans to make changes to the arrangements, so after Sunday the 29th, make sure you take extra care when on the roads in the evening, the earlier darkness can definitely catch people out!