Road Safety – Turning Back the Clock


Recently there has been an impressive campaign started up by the RoSPA to try and change the way that we manage our roads. Road safety is paramount to the safe management of the country, especially in the winter months. However, the challenges of road safety become more complex as car numbers swell, roads need more maintenance and the time between big events becomes shorter. This creates unfavourable driving conditions that puts your own safety at risk on the roads – so, what is the main solution to try and improve road safety around the winter?

One particular message that has been put forward is the SDST – Single/Double British Summertime. The idea is to simply move the clock forward to GMT+1 in the winter, and GMT+2 in the summer. This would allow for a better level of evening light for all, making it easier for the shift towards sunset instead to around 7PM. At the moment, it happens much closer to 6PM – meaning we could add as much as one extra hour onto our daily road safety visibility.

Now, this might seem to be overly cautious – to try and adjust how we live our lives to make roads safer. However, there is plenty of merit in the idea. This isn’t to create a nanny state – it is quite literally to save lives.

In the months of October through to March, the number of road accidents skyrockets. The darker evenings and the lesser time driving in the light makes it harder for everyone to stay concentrated and to avoid any kind of road accidents or damage. With an extra hour of light, we could make it much safer for drivers who are coming home to make sure they have that extra depth of light to get home safely.

A Needed Road Safety Solution

While people are quick to decry ideas such as this, it’s an important thing to consider. In 2015 alone, the UK witnessed more deaths as the months rolled on. Between September and October, more than 15 extra deaths (27 to 42) were recorded. In November, an extra 3, and by December more than 13 extra people were dying on the roads. This new procedure to help add more light could go a long way to making a huge change to road safety without spending too much.

This has historical precedent, too. During the late 60s and early 70s – 1968-71 – the UK changed to a GMT+1-time zone for the whole year. In the three years, over 2,0000 deaths and major injuries were prevented showing that this is an idea with scientific, logistical and historical merit.

The ideas for ringing it in make sense – the Department for Transport backed this in 2009 for a start. They claimed it could save as much as 80 deaths per year, for a cost of just £5m to make the change publicized. The return, though, could be as much as £138m per year thanks to energy savings and other useful facilities.

What do you think of this idea? Is it road safety to the extreme? Or something worth discussing?

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