posted 10 months ago

Swap To Single/Double Summer Time To Make Roads Safer, Brake Says

Road safety charity explains how moving the clocks forward by an hour would benefit motorists.

Clock change makes evenings lighter

The UK should switch to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) to make roads safer by ensuring it is light longer into the evenings, Road Safety Charity Brake argued. It is, therefore, calling on the Government to implement its proposal. Benefits for drivers include:

  • Easier to see hazards such as cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles which minimises the risk of causing death and injury
  • Easier to see hazards such as potholes which minimises the risk of damaging vehicle suspension, wheels and tyres
  • Makes motoring easier, more relaxing and more enjoyable

Single/Double Summer Time explained

Brake's proposal requires the clocks to move forward an hour relative to current positions. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) – as currently used in the winter – would be replaced by Greenwich Mean Time + 1 (GMT+1). For the summer, in contrast, clocks would be Greenwich Mean Time +2 (GMT+2) rather than Greenwich Mean Time + 1.

Case for change

Brake and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents revealed a range of statistics that strengthen the case for change:

  • In 1998, The Transport Research Laboratory said that such a change would prevent 80 deaths, and 212 serious injuries, per-annum
  • In 1970, a Home Office report confirmed that adopting Single/Double Summer Time for a trail period between 1968 and 1971 prevented 2,500 deaths and serious injuries, per-annum
  • In 2009, The National Audit Office said that between 2000 and 2007 the number of pedestrians killed, or injured, rose in the 4 weeks after the clocks went back compared to the 4 weeks prior

Additional benefits

Switching to Single/Double Summer Time would yield environmental benefits too, its champions argued. In 2009, University of Cambridge research claimed such a change would reduce the consumption of electricity and cut carbon emissions by 447,000 tonnes per-annum. Street lights would be needed less, for starters.

Furthermore, lighter evenings might encourage more people to walk and cycle rather than use a vehicle. “This would be a powerful boost to the well-being of local communities (and promote) safer, more sustainable, transport and healthier lifestyles”, Brake said.

Brake's perspective

Gary Rae, Brake Campaigns Director, summarised: “Brake has been campaigning for the clocks to be changed for good, for many years.”

He added: “It is such a simple and effective way to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads. It also carries so many other benefits such as increased daylight leisure time and reduced emissions. I want the government to look at this much neglected issue again.”