No more lights out from midnight until 5am!


Highways England have decided to end their policy which sees some motorway lights switched off during the hours of midnight until 5am.

Around 100 miles of the road network maintained by the government-owned company has applied by this policy since 2009, however, a recent report implied that ‘lighting unlit’ sections saw casualty rates rise by 88% – this included non-functioning lights as well as ones that were switched off, leading to an increase from 93 casualties to 175 casualties between 2010 and 2017.

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Highways England to switch motorway lights back on. © Copyright Ian Dalgliesh and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

According to Highways England, their switch-off policy came to an end last year thanks to the installation of more efficient LED lights and probably, the slim savings switch-off would make.

Head of road safety, Richard Leonard, said: “Safety is our top priority,” adding: “On our roads we light what needs to be lit, and we know where those locations are. We have a greater understanding of where night-time collisions occur and the impact road lighting would have. This means we can target lighting where it is needed, rather than putting lights everywhere.”

At variance with, the company’s data suggests that ‘you are more likely to be involved in a casualty incident on a lit section of road’. However, this could be because the areas they choose to light are more dangerous by comparison.

But why? Maybe because when they review lighting, they carry out safety risk assessments to decide it they’re still needed. So, if lights are on, it’s probably because they are needed. It’s a stretch of road that lighting is considered to help make safer, but not necessarily by comparison to roads that don’t call for it.

In a nutshell, the lights indicate that a road section is classed as less safe than those with no lighting. The lighting is there to help, if only partly, but is not the cause.



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