When the lights go out.
Last Sunday was the worst day of the year. The last Sunday of October is always the worst day of the year—the clocks change and my life as a commuter is plunged into darkness. I don’t know why we do it. It causes more people to suffer from SAD—seasonal affective disorder, which affects about 2 million people in the UK and more than 12 million across northern Europe—and, worse, it causes a significant increase in fatal pedestrian collisions on our roads.
Estimates by the Department for Transport’s own research suggest that a move to adopt Single/Double Summertime (an adjustment to the clocks of GMT plus one hour in winter and GMT plus two in summer) would be worth almost £140 million annually. The road-safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist notes that official figures show that, in 2013, twice as many pedestrians died in December compared to June and that there’s a 10% increase in road deaths in the four weeks after the clocks go back.
This simple change would cheer many of us up, give us longer summer evenings, add millions to the economy and avoid an estimated 80 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries on the UK’s roads each year.