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Keeping drivers and fleets safe when the clocks change

News | 25 September 2020

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Statistics show there’s a spike in accidents on the roads when the UK moves from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) each year. With this change on the horizon in 2020, here’s some advice from the Pullman Fleet Services team.

As the clocks change at the end of October, we wave goodbye to autumn and move into winter. Experienced drivers will know that this period of the year is trickier than most out on the road, with reduced visibility and changing weather conditions introducing more hazards.

Research from the RAC Foundation in 2018 found that the annual October clock change brings an increase of around 20 accidents-per-day on UK roads in which someone is hurt.

By analysing police data from between 2012-2017, they found that in the two weeks after the clocks go back, personal injury claim (PIC) collisions go up by an average of 278 when compared to the previous fortnight. It’s a similar story for pedestrian incidents too, with the same research indicating that collisions resulting in a pedestrian casualty increase by more than 11%.

Hauliers cover millions of miles on UK roads every year. Because of this, there’s a responsibility to keep other road users and pedestrians as safe as possible.

Daylight saving brings a unique set of challenges for all drivers. As well as dealing with changing weather conditions, we must adjust to making regular journeys at dusk or in the dark; something many of us have not done for around five-six months.

Our advice to hauliers at this time of year is to be ready for this sudden change. The best way to ensure your journey is as safe and smooth as possible is to prepare ahead of time and adapt.

This can be as simple as ensuring your daily routine leaves you feeling fresh and alert for both morning and evening driving - the times of day the clock changes affect us most – or by checking ahead to make sure your usual route has not been impacted by adverse weather conditions. Although many of us use the same roads every day and believe that we can autopilot ourselves to regular destinations, seasonal changes can bring new challenges.

‘Check it, don’t chance it’, is our message.

Checking vehicles is especially important at this time of year. Headlamp bulbs can fail at any time, but if you haven’t been actively using them for a long period, you may not notice until it’s too late. This can leave you at risk of a fine or, even worse, an accident.

Likewise, effective windscreen wipers and washer fluid become more important for clearing dirt and spray from the roads, while making sure your tyres have the necessary tread is essential at a time when grip can be reduced.

When conditions reach extreme levels; for example, heavy snowfall, the best advice is to avoid all unnecessary journeys. Even specially-trained, vastly experienced drivers need to be more vigilant.

At Pullman, we can provide the health checks and fleet maintenance services that are so important ahead of the winter months, as well as the support to ensure everyone is as safe as possible.