As new research reveals car accidents peak during the evening rush hour, many drivers admit to being anxious about driving when it gets dark.
Between 2013 and 2015, a total of 50,780 accidents occurred between 5pm and 6pm – equivalent to 17,000 accidents per year.
This makes the evening rush-hour the most dangerous time to be on the road, according to new Freedom of Information data obtained by Confused.com
Darker nights unwelcome among drivers
And, with the clocks going back on 30 October, sunset will be brought forward to as early as 3.51pm over the coming months.
Many drivers are unlikely to welcome this news as over a fifth (21%) admit they least like driving late in the evening or at night.
More than a third (34%) of drivers say it's because they find it harder to see. And over half (51%) say they are often dazzled by other cars with full beams.
A quarter of motorists (25%) prefer to only drive on roads that have street lighting.
A third of women avoid driving at night
Women are more likely to refrain from driving after dark, with almost a third (30%) admitting that they avoid driving at night, compared to 16% of men.
Despite concerns about night-time motoring conditions, nearly half (46%) of motorists say they have never been taught to drive at night.
Yet 58% believe it should be compulsory, and a quarter (23%) think newly-qualified drivers should be accompanied when on the road after dark.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Our research shows that many UK drivers to feel less confident when driving at night.
“Commuters especially, who are already having to battle through traffic during the dangerous evening rush hour, must be dreading the darker evenings, which can make the journey home more challenging.”
Driving after dark ‘riskier’
Amanda says drivers are right to be cautious about driving as the evenings get darker.
“Those who have telematics or ‘black box’ insurance will know that their car insurance premiums are likely to be affected if they’re regularly on the road at night,” she says.
“This is because after dark is considered a riskier time to drive.
“Reduced visibility clearly plays a part in motorists’ reservations about driving at night. Yet we don’t teach people how to cope with night-time conditions as a matter of course.
“When vision is reduced, tiredness can strike and it can be far harder to spot vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians or cyclists.”
How can tiredness affect your driving?
Confused.com has partnered with behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings to reveal the way in which driving under the influence of emotions impacts our mind, body and actions - and therefore our ability to control the wheel.
Here we look at how exhaustion can affect your driving:
Insomnia, jet-lag, working too hard and family problems can all bring on exhaustion. This can have a dramatic impact on driving ability. Cognitive function can be seriously impaired, reaction times are slower than usual, and the risk of falling asleep at the wheel is highly likely – especially during longer journeys.
When exhausted you can experience extreme fatigue, lack of energy and low levels of awareness. Physically your body can ache, and muscles will be tense – making you feel weak at the wheel. We have a poor attention span when exhausted, and seriously impaired vision. This can make us feel irritable and affect our reaction times.
To find out more about how the way you feel can affect your driving ability, head over to our interactive tool.