As every insurance brand knows, the clocks change always leads to a spike in road accidents. Mix in body clock patterns being disrupted with slippery leaves on roads, plus commuters travelling home in the dark and you have the perfect storm. IE has some new data from Enterprise Rent-A-Car fresh in the Inbox, which indicates the number of UK road accidents could jump up by as much as 10% in the two weeks after the clocks go back.
Here’s the word;
Enterprise data shows that demand for replacement cars, vans and trucks increased by 10% in the two weeks immediately after the clocks went back in 2021, compared to the two weeks beforehand. Road accidents are more common in the winter months and this is thought to be because of shorter days with darker afternoons and evenings, which are peak commuting times, and poor weather conditions following the end of British Summer Time.
There are also significantly more vehicles on the roads, which leads to more collisions. Department for Transport data shows that car traffic is nearing pre-pandemic levels and van and truck traffic has already increased beyond those levels.
The increase in incidents means that motorists may also be waiting longer to get their car back after an accident, especially if they need a courtesy or replacement car to stay mobile while their own vehicle is being repaired.
Stuart Sandell, head of replacement sales for the UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, comments: “Many people are now either back in the office full-time or coming in several days a week, and they’ll be driving home in darker, more wintry conditions in the days after the clocks go back. A 5.30pm journey home in the twilight suddenly becomes a more treacherous journey home in the dark.
“We advise drivers to put extra focus on vehicle condition and maintenance during the winter, especially if you’re driving an older vehicle or extending service and maintenance cycles to keep costs down. Allowing extra time and planning your trip carefully will help to reduce risk, while carrying a few essentials in the car will help if you do break down or have an incident.
“We’re also advising businesses that allow employees to drive their own cars for business trips to ensure they check on the maintenance of those vehicles and to consider alternative forms of transport where possible.”
For UK guidance on safer driving in winter conditions, drivers can visit https://www.rospa.com/media/documents/road-safety/factsheets/winter-driving-factsheet.pdf.
AXA ESTIMATES CLAIMS COSTS
Meanwhile AXA worked out what the typical claims cost was for a “clocks go back” incident;
AXA UK has found that motor insurance claims increase by an average of 7% over the three days following the clocks going back at the end of October, with a cost of around £2,230 per claim. The insurance firm analysed claims data from the past three years, which also shows there is an increase in minor collisions during morning and evening rush hours as drivers get used to driving in the dark.
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