Op Dragoon issue road safety advice as darker nights draw in

28 Oct 2016 10:00 AM

Darker nights [View Full Size]

Northumbria Police's Op Dragoon team is urging motorists to take extra care on their drive home this weekend - as we prepare for the clocks to go back.

When the UK wake on Sunday morning they will be gifted an extra hour in bed as the clocks go back an hour to signal the onset of winter.

But officers within the Op Dragoon team are issuing safety advice to motorists after seeing an increase in the number of accidents on the road at this time of year.

Statistics going back over the past 11 years show that casualties increased from 277 between 5pm and 7pm in the two weeks before the change to 451 in the following two weeks - an increase of a staggering 63 per cent

The number of fatalities on our roads also increase by more than 40 per cent in the two weeks following the clock change from the two weeks before.

Now Sergeant Phil Patterson is urging motorists to take extra care on their journey home as they will suddenly face having to drive home in the dark.

Sergeant Phil Patterson, head of the Op Dragoon team, said: "When the clocks change at this time of year then the majority of commuters who have been driving home in daylight suddenly face a commute in the dark.

"Whilst many drivers are confident driving in the dark, this sudden change does have an effect. We see a 63 per cent increase in casualties in the evenings of the first two weeks after the clocks change compared to before which is a worrying statistic.

"These casualties also tend to be more seriously injured or killed, and the primary reason we are given by those involved is that they have failed to look properly.

"Many factors can have an influence on our ability to concentrate but this change in light is clearly a big factor in collisions at this time of year and we want to make sure motorists are taking extra care.

"For those who have had a busy or stressful day, many leave their minds still in work mode and are not aware of their surroundings when they make their way home.

"We want everyone to do their bit to help prevent an increase in serious injuries on our roads and there are steps you can take to help minimise the risk of being involved in a collision at this time of year.

"Motorists should take a few minutes to prepare for their journey before setting off, ensure car lights are in good working order and make sure windscreens are clear of any ice.

"It is important to make a conscious effort to be aware of surroundings as you drive. Keep your distance, obey the two second rule and remember to pay extra attention for more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. "

Northumbria Police’s Operation Dragoon team works tirelessly every day to make our roads safer with the team made up of three branches: Enforcement, Engagement and Education.

Since 2015 they have made significant efforts to increase the safety of all road users through educational campaigns such as this one, engaging with car enthusiast communities and by targetting high risk drivers on our roads.

If anyone suspects anyone of dangerous driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then contact the team by calling 101.

Find out more about Op Dragoon by clicking HERE.

Statistics in relation to the clock change

- Over the past 11 years (2005 to 2015), there have been 2,342 casualties that have occurred in the two weeks before the clocks go back at the end of October.

- In the two weeks following the clocks going back there were 2,445 casualties. An increase in more than a hundred extra people injured on the roads.

- There was a 44 per cent increase in fatalities in the two weeks after the clocks go back to the two weeks before. An additional eight fatalities rising from 18 to 26.

- Casualties increased from 277 to 451 between 5pm and 6:59pm, an increase of 63 per cent. Injuries increased to their highest levels from 5pm to 5.59pm, rising by 82 per cent from 142 to 258.