Be careful on the roads now the clocks have gone back

The national French Road Safety agency is warning drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to be extra careful on the roads, as the clock change back to winter hours annually causes a spike in accidents.

29 October 2017
By Connexion journalist

Every year, the clock change is seen to precipitate a sharp rise in the number of road incidents among all road users - up to 49% in some areas, reports French news source Le Figaro.

Clocks went back one hour last night (Saturday to Sunday) to take France - and most of the rest of Europe - into winter-time mode. This puts France back on GMT+1, compared to the GMT+2 that it uses from mid-March to the end of October (when the UK is in British Summer Time). 

Despite the extra hour of sleep that most will have had as a result, the Road Safety agency (La Sécurité Routière) is still warning road users to be aware, as the clock change - and subsequent earlier sunset - usually coincides with a spike in road accidents between 17h and 19h.

This is often blamed on the fact that nighttime comes earlier in the day, often at the same time as schoolchildren leave school or many workers begin their evening journeys home.

Figures show that 43% of pedestrian deaths happen in the new winter months.

Even in apparently well-lit towns, the light from streetlamps and cars is often not enough to properly mark out crossing pedestrians, who are themselves advised to wear reflective vests or straps on their clothing if walking after dark.

Drivers and motorbike users are warned to slow down, keep their lights on during the daytime and the nighttime, stay at least one metre away from pavements, and be aware that pedestrians can always appear unexpectedly.

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