Car accident risk increases by over a third after the clocks go back
Drivers should be extra careful in the weeks following the clocks going back as Police data shows the changing light and weather conditions contribute to an additional 20 accidents per day in which someone gets injured. Three quarters of these extra collisions occur between 5pm and 8pm but there is more risk in the morning as well, with Wales showing a 50% increased risk of accidents in the morning rush hour.
It’s not just older drivers that are at risk. Sarah Vaughan from Inthebox (a telematics car insurer) says “Insurethebox data shows that accident risk increases as a direct result of the clocks going back. For many young drivers, the evenings after the clock change will be their first experience of driving in the dark, coping with different conditions like reduced visibility.” Insurethebox data is gathered from over 4 billion miles of driving records in the last 10 years and shows that the risk of accidents increases when road conditions are poorly lit, wet and slippery.
So, how can we make sure we are as safe as possible when driving in conditions of poor visibility? Have a regular eye exam to make sure you are wearing the right prescription glasses or contact lenses. Helen Tilley, optometrist at Monnow Eyecare says “the right lenses, which may mean different prescriptions for the right and left eyes, will improve your 3D spatial vision and make judging distances easier. Some drivers also feel more comfortable wearing glasses with an anti-reflective coating for night time journeys”. She adds a warning about yellow tinted glasses that are advertised as ‘night driving glasses’. “Unfortunately these adverts can be misleading and could make you less safe on dark roads because they cut down the total amount of light reaching your eyes, so we don’t recommend them”.
Make sure your glasses are thoroughly cleaned, using a suitable cleansing spray and a clean microfibre cloth. Dirty lenses can cause halos and reflections which make it harder to see clearly to drive. If you have an anti-reflective coating on your glasses your optometrist will recommend the right cleaning spray that won’t damage the coating.
Finally, check your car. Make sure light bulbs are working (easier to miss in the summer months when we don’t use them as much). Driving on wet and dirty roads also means our lights get dirtier, so check and clean them if necessary, before starting your journey. The windscreen should be clean both inside and out to reduce glare and reflections from oncoming vehicles as dirt and condensation reduces visibility and causes confusing halos.
If you have any concerns about your eyesight and driving, your friendly Monnow Eyecare optometrist will be happy to advice you as part of your next eye test. To arrange a test at a convenient time for you please call Monnow Eyecare on 01600 715 299.