In an attempt to reduce carbon footprints many of the UK’s roads are left unlit presenting a significant danger for motorists and pedestrians.
The Department for Transport’s statistics show that between 2016 and 2020 there have been 102 deaths on roads where streetlights are present.
This is compared to 1599 deaths on roads where streetlights are absent.
The UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, asked 1000 motorists their opinion on driving in the dark.
The majority of respondents agreed that switching off or removing streetlights had a negative impact on both personal and road safety.
57% of those surveyed agreed that unlit streetlights made their neighbourhood feel less safe, while 67% agreed that roads with unlit streetlights lead to more crime.
Lack of visibility, colliding with a pedestrian and being at risk if your car breaks down were ranked of highest concern to motorists surveyed.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “Any decision of when and where lights are switched off must be made with road safety as the top priority and with full consultation of local residents.”
Nearly a quarter of respondents to the survey stated that the prospect of walking an unlit road would make them more likely to drive home, even if they had been drinking.
Neil added: “With over 35 million drivers on the roads, this statistic means that there could be over 8 million motorists tempted to get behind the wheel after a drink.
While this is totally unacceptable, this also goes to show the fears some drivers have about walking in unlit areas.”
Giving advice to drivers he said, “Motorists should reduce speeds on unlit roads in built up areas, raise their awareness of where these roads are, and plan journeys more carefully.
Meanwhile, other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists should also familiarise themselves with roads that are unlit, as well as wearing high visibility clothing so that motorists can see them in dark conditions.”