Protyre News


Drivers Left in the Dark


It’s daylight savings this weekend! Lucky UK residents gain an extra hour in bed as the clocks go back at 2am on Sunday 28 October.
With dark night’s drawing in it’s a particularly prominent time for drivers as conditions on the commute home from work begin to change. In new research conducted by, one in eight street lights across the country are switched off through all or part of the night.
There are almost a whopping 4.3 million street lights installed across Britain of which, more than 48% are switched off or dimmed during certain hours of the night. 
This raises concern that motorists are forced to drive in dark and gloomy conditions, without a fully-clear view of the road ahead. Driving at night is an already-chaotic experience for motorists, who face the challenge of blinding headlights and near-invisible surroundings, without the extra pressure of having to navigate through the darkness during rush hour.
While this is an issue faced by all drivers, there seems to be some regions across Britain where roads are a lot darker, and arguably more daunting for motorists. A new interactive map created by reveals that the South West has the highest percentage of the region’s street lights switched off or dimmed overnight. Out of the 409,220 street lamps installed in the South West more than two in five are switched off or dimmed throughout the night by each of the region’s councils, on average.
On the other hand, London leaves the majority of its street lights fully lit (93%), on average, possibly due to the large amount of vehicles and pedestrians who take to the streets 24 hours a day.

Street Light Decline Interactive Map

Further research by found that almost four in five motorists have driven at night while street the lights were partially or completely switched off and almost one in six of those have had an accident or near miss while the lights were completely switched off. This could be attributed to the fact that more than three in five (62%) of the motorists who have driven in these conditions say the visibility of the road was compromised, while more than half (55%) said the road ahead wasn’t very clear.
However, it isn’t just motorists who benefit from well-lit roads, as darker areas increase the risk to pedestrians. In fact, three in 10 drivers think it is unclear why councils switch off street lights at night in heavily pedestrianised areas. A further two in five don’t think councils should switch off street lights as it puts pedestrians at risk.
It isn’t just the season which is knocking drivers’ confidence, some also find it difficult to drive in general in darker conditions. In fact, more than one in four motorists admit they get confused while driving in the dark as they cannot see the road clearly, while a further one in four cannot read road signs clearly. Some even feel somewhat disorientated, with a third admitting other cars’ headlights make their vision unclear. More than four fifths of motorists say they would feel less confused about driving in the dark if roads were better lit. Perhaps this calls for more lights to remain on, even if for a little bit longer, and help drivers to feel confident when tackling the roads at night.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “Street lights are installed for a reason, and that is to help drivers be fully aware of their surroundings and offer protection to pedestrians. By switching these off, drivers really are left in the dark. Our interactive map shows just how many regions across Britain are plunging motorists into complete darkness at night. Not being able to see the road clearly is a very daunting and confusing challenge drivers face. It is important they are extra vigilant and take extra car when driving in blacked-out areas as surroundings may not be very easy to see. We have compiled our top safety tips for driving in the dark, which could fill drivers with more confidence before setting off at night.”

Cover photo by Reynaldo Brigantty from Pexels

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About the author

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By Gareth Vrac
Gareth is an Area Manager for Protyre. Gareth is passionate about the automotive industry and likes keeping up to date on the latest automotive news and activities across the UK.  
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