AXA observes increase in minor collisions as clocks go back

Drivers should not underestimate the risks posed by driving in the dark

AXA observes increase in minor collisions as clocks go back

Motor & Fleet

By Gabriel Olano

AXA UK has found an average increase of 7% in motor insurance claims over the three days following the clocks going back at the end of October, costing around £2,230 per claim.

This was observed from claims data for the past three years, which also showed an increase in minor collisions during morning and evening rush hours as drivers get used to driving in the dark.

AXA stressed the importance of being prepared for driving in new conditions, especially with the additional risks posed by driving in the dark. The insurer gave the following tips to help avoid accidents and keep drivers, passengers and other road users safe.

  • Never drive when tired – fatigued drivers have lower concentration and slower reaction times. While driving tired is dangerous at any time of the day, it is especially worse at night due to lower visibility.
  • Use lights appropriately – a car’s high beam lights can help drivers see better when it’s dark outside, but they must be used correctly. For unlit stretches of road, AXA recommended that drivers slow down and turn their full beam on. However, in case of heavy rain, snow, or fog, high-beam headlights may cause more problems than they solve. The light from them may be reflected, making it harder to see what’s ahead.
  • Keep on top of car maintenance – AXA highlighted the importance of being up-to-date with car maintenance by seeking expert advice. Drivers should pay extra attention to the car’s brake pads and lights as the day becomes darker.
  • Keep window screens clean – making sure the windscreen is clean is important to help spot any potential driving hazards when driving at night.
  • Take an evening driving lesson – if unsure or unused to driving in the dark, drivers may want to consider refresher lessons. Having a qualified driving instructor there can really help boost confidence and provide specific advice around driving in the dark, AXA said.
  • Don’t drive too fast – drivers should give themselves more time to react to anything on the road when out in the dark. Going a little bit slower will not only help with spotting any hazards, but it will also help with reaction time.
  • Be cautious of other drivers – AXA said it is important to pay extra attention to other cars on the road – as not all drivers will. It is also essential to be aware of any pedestrians and wildlife. It’s much harder to spot these potential hazards in the dark, so driving a bit slower and being attentive will lower the risk.

“Every year, during the darker autumn and winter months, we see an increase in motor claims related to driving in these more challenging conditions,” said Dean Witherington, retail claims director, AXA UK. “It is essential for drivers to be prepared for the change, especially as visibility is reduced and there is a greater chance of unpredictable and adverse weather conditions. It helps to take simple precautions, such as checking if the windscreen is clean before setting off and ensuring the vehicle has been well maintained. These are easy ways to reduce the risk of needing to make an insurance claim but, if the worst does happen, AXA is on hand to support.”

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