Research conducted by the AA Charitable Trust has revealed that 97% of drivers have ‘gripes’ with autumn driving.

The longer nights – and the issues they lead to – clearly play a part, with the AA-Yonder survey of 14,467 members revealing that dazzling low sun is especially off-putting, with 76% of motorists identifying it as a particular peeve.

Dark evenings and the need for headlights also creates problems, with half of drivers (50%) finding it frustrating when other motorists either fail to use or incorrectly use theirs.

Poor visibility and driving conditions further exacerbates issues, with the conditions caused by fog a hinderance for 40% of motorists.

The five biggest driving peeves during the autumn months are:

  • The dazzle created by the sun being low in the sky (76%)
  • Drivers failing to use their lights correctly (50%)
  • Conditions making it hard to see pedestrians and cyclists (49%)
  • Fog (40%)
  • Other vehicles on the road with lights that were not working properly (39%)

The risk of driving in dazzling sun during the autumn has been emphasised by government road crash data. This revealed it had been a contributory factor to twice as many motorbike crashes and three times as many cyclist crashes in 2020, compared to 2019.

The AA explained: “In 2019, dazzling sun to drivers was a contributory factor in just under 5% of fatal pedal cyclist crashes but this rose to 15% in 2020. For fatal motorbike crashes it rose from just under 2% to 4%.”

Edmund King, AA Charitable Trust Director, said: “The clocks go back this month and with it even more seasonal hazards on the roads.”

“Data from our recent Young Rural Drivers campaign, as well as the latest government road crash statistics shows these months, and the hazards they bring, pose particular risks to vulnerable road users such as young drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists. Dazzling sun, misuse of headlights and poor visibility can be challenging for experienced drivers, but for those who are new to the roads they can be particularly difficult to navigate safely.”

“The sudden leap in the number of cyclists and bikers who were killed in crashes where a contributory factor was drivers dazzled by the sun is concerning. As the clocks change and daylight fades, it is a timely reminder to always check twice for those on two wheels – especially at this time of year when the sun can block our vision.”

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