This Sunday, drivers in the South East will be plunged into the darkness earlier as the clocks go back an hour.
Evenings are only going to get darker, as research by Confused dot com reveals 255,000 street lights in the region are dimmed or switched off at night(1).
The data obtained by the driver savings site found that a gloomy 170,000 lights are dimmed during the darker hours, while a further 85,000 are turned off completely, accounting for more than a third (35%) of the regions total number of street lamps.
Across the UK, a whopping total of 2 million street lamps are switched off or dimmed at night, which is more than a third (36%) of the six million street lights across the country.
The research found that at least 137 councils across the UK have dimming or switch-off systems in place, and Confused.com’s street lighting map reveals some regions are darker than others. And with one in eight (13%) UK drivers having had an accident on roads where the street lights were off, it’s no wonder over a third (35%) are dreading the darker nights being brought forward by the clocks going back this weekend.
Darkened streets seems to be an issue across the UK, but certain areas are more daunting to drive through in the dark than others. In fact, more than a third (34%) of UK motorists think rural roads are most affected by switched off or dimmed street lights, with more than two fifths (44%) of drivers calling for more street lights to be lit along these roads. As it stands, more than a quarter (27%) think rural roads are too dangerous to drive on in the dark, possibly due to the many obstacles they might face along their route, such as flocks of sheep, horse riders, or other wildlife. This could explain why more than one in five (21%) drivers actually avoid driving along rural roads at night because they can’t see well enough.
But it’s not just unlit rural roads which put drivers off. In fact, more than a quarter (27%) of UK motorists say they avoid driving in areas that are in complete darkness. This could be attributed to almost half of drivers (49%) saying they feel or would feel unsafe driving on streets where the lights are switched off. And further four in five (79%) say their visibility of the road is compromised when street lights are switched off. So to help those who feel nervous about night time driving, Confused dot com has launched a driving in the dark safety guide which provides tops tips for safer driving during the darker hours.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor, says: “Our street lighting map really puts into perspective the darkness faced by drivers while driving at night. And with the clocks going back this Sunday, evenings are only going to get darker – especially in rural areas.
“It is clear that many drivers dread driving at night-time, and it is no wonder given how little light is available in some areas. For those who are headed out for a night-time drive, there are things you can do make your trip safer, such as dimming dashboard lights to reduce reflections. We also recommend allowing more time for journeys so you aren’t driving under pressure. For more advice, visit our guide to safer night driving.