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SteveNickolls

Motorway Light Cut-off

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Some forum members may wish to note that today AOL Online announced that a Freedom of Information request by the AA to the Highways Agency revealed that 121 miles of motorway (242 miles in both directions) have had their lights turned off in the last three years as part of central Government plans to cut carbon emissions. The overall motorway network apparently is 1070 miles long.

The motorways which have been plunged into the dark over the past three years have been the M4 near junctions 21 and 22, March 2009; the M5 between junctions 2 and 4, February 2011; the M1 between junction 16 and Watford Gap services, February 2011; the M4 between junctions 11 and 12, June 2009; and the M54 from its junction with the M6 to junction 2 near Wolverhampton, March 2011.

There are also a number of motorways where the lights have been turned off for good; these include parts of the M58; M65; M1 and M6.

I thought some members would be interested in the news of this cut-off which has quietly been taking place nationally.

Cheers,

Steve

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Disgusting - now HOW on earth am I to get about at night in my car when I can't see anyfink? :D :D :D :D :D

(This was a comment from someone I had mentioned this to... :()

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Erm, turn the car headlights on for a start hehe.

Just maybe we will all get a rebate from our road fund licence-only maybe.

Cheers,

Steve

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Disgusting - now HOW on earth am I to get about at night in my car when I can't see anyfink? :D :D :D :D :D

(This was a comment from someone I had mentioned this to... :()

It's quite interesting how some people react despite most motorways are unlit anyway.

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The AA have been harking on about this for a long time claiming to act in the interests motoring safety. I'm not sure if lit motorway is safer or not that unlit stretches. I don't like the 'strobe effect' of driving through lit sections and I suspect being well lit some sections invite faster/riskier behavoir? In all honesty though many lit sections are not needed- take the M5 south from Birmingham for example. What is the point of lighting 30 miles if essentially rural motorway with few junctions?

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"plunged into the dark" is something of a perjorative expression, isn't it? I wonder if that paragraph would read with quite the same sense if it were replaced by "no longer lit" or "no longer burning thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money"?

James

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"plunged into the dark" is something of a perjorative expression, isn't it? I wonder if that paragraph would read with quite the same sense if it were replaced by "no longer lit" or "no longer burning thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money"?

James

Yes, that was the AOL wording in the article.

Regards,

Steve

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Yes, that was the AOL wording in the article.

Makes you wonder if someone there doesn't have an axe to grind...

James

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Don't care!

I am not going to set my HEQ5 and scope up in the middle lane of any motorway just because they have switched off the lights.

You can if you want but don't expect me to.

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This is a really really bad idea, IMO the entire motorway network should be lit.

im a truck driver and have worked nights for the last 8 years and the difference between driving for hour after hour on lit roads and unlit roads is massive.

unlit roads can be very hypnotic following the red light just ahead, in the early hours of the morning no matter how much sleep you have had you are fighting a battle with your body clock which is screaming at you that you should be asleep, it's dark after all. I've noticed that when i get to a lit section I perk up.

Distances are easier to judge in the lit sections, the oncoming headlights aren't as dazzling

id imagine its much easier for the emergency services to do their work on lit sections as well

i have personally witnessed several accidents that I'm sure wouldn't have happened on lit sections, cars and trucks running into the back of slow moving vehicles that were going much slower than they thought.

please don't think I'm driving when tired, I don't, all of the above is just to explain my experiences, a quick jaunt up the motorway at 9pm is one thing, a 12 hour drive in the early hours night after night is a very different thing.

turn the lights back on and light the currently unlit sections

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Don't care!

I am not going to set my HEQ5 and scope up in the middle lane of any motorway just because they have switched off the lights.

You can if you want but don't expect me to.

No, but I'm sure you are aware that the fewer lights that are kept on (whether motorway, local streets and house/industrial security lighting the lower light pollution there will be to affect observing (and waste energy).

jabberwocky gives an important insight into the requirements of professional drivers and from personal experience. My hope is that the more we raise and discuss the issues associated with light pollution (not just on the forum but by raising issues nationally) the better the chance that the fears to personal safety and crime can be explored while the facts and research on the subject can be voiced/publicised. I suppose that means I do care.

Cheers,

Steve

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There are sections of the M6 in Lancashire that are now unlit in the middle of the night too. I think it is a good idea really, especially if you live near one!

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Agree with Jabberwocky but am afraid a non issue here as the road network is abysmal, still in the horse and cart era here ;)

Jim

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Jabawocky raises some serious points, I too drive a lot for my work, all over the UK, and often this is through the night for early starts. I hate the unlit/lit issue, they should be one or the other. For me I have favoured the idea of dropping the lights to a lower level, fixed perhaps to the crash barriers or at that height anyway, with lower powered, shielded lamps that light up the motorway edge in a way that minimises pollution but still gives overnight drivers the safety they require ans we as a society have a moral duty to provide...regardless of our personal interests..

Incidentally the Council here in Swindon have turned off a lot of the lights along major roads, only having them on to light up roundabouts and bends...damned good idea, now i need to convince them to turn all the streetlights off around my home :D

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This is a really really bad idea, IMO the entire motorway network should be lit.

im a truck driver and have worked nights for the last 8 years and the difference between driving for hour after hour on lit roads and unlit roads is massive.

unlit roads can be very hypnotic following the red light just ahead, in the early hours of the morning no matter how much sleep you have had you are fighting a battle with your body clock which is screaming at you that you should be asleep, it's dark after all. I've noticed that when i get to a lit section I perk up.

Distances are easier to judge in the lit sections, the oncoming headlights aren't as dazzling

id imagine its much easier for the emergency services to do their work on lit sections as well

i have personally witnessed several accidents that I'm sure wouldn't have happened on lit sections, cars and trucks running into the back of slow moving vehicles that were going much slower than they thought.

please don't think I'm driving when tired, I don't, all of the above is just to explain my experiences, a quick jaunt up the motorway at 9pm is one thing, a 12 hour drive in the early hours night after night is a very different thing.

turn the lights back on and light the currently unlit sections

Perpetual daylight.......

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I think most traffic lights should be switched off between midnight and 6am too. Just change it so that the amber light flashes dimly or amber and red on dimly. I drive a lot during the night too and being constantly stopped by traffic lights at junctions where there are no vehicles coming the other way is a pain.

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Perpetual daylight.......

And that is a problem? Obviously jabberwocky's words regarding driver safety appears to have gone over your head

I think most traffic lights should be switched off between midnight and 6am too. Just change it so that the amber light flashes dimly or amber and red on dimly. I drive a lot during the night too and being constantly stopped by traffic lights at junctions where there are no vehicles coming the other way is a pain.

A lot of traffic lights are intelligent in that they change to allow traffic flow, in Germany the traffic lights turn to flashing amber each way around midnight and then the "give way to the right" rule comes into force.

Jim

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And that is a problem? Obviously jabberwocky's words regarding driver safety appears to have gone over your head

I think there's a possibility that it is a problem, yes. I believe there's research showing that perpetual daylight causes problems with physical and mental well-being.

But also here there's an automatic jump to the conclusion that if it's not as safe as might be desired to drive at night then the roads should be all lit up. I don't think that conclusion necessarily follows. Perhaps we should also be asking ourselves what it is about our society that demands that many people have to drive at times when they're likely to be less safe (not that they are less safe drivers) in order to make a living and whether, in the world in which we now find ourselves and with spiralling energy costs we shouldn't actually be looking for an alternative solution that doesn't require large numbers of people to do that as a matter of course and, where they want it, allows them the same quality of life afforded to those of us who work more "normal" hours.

James

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Obviously jabberwocky's words regarding driver safety appears to have gone over your head

I'd like to see the stats.

EDIT: here they are

For example, evidence from the Department for Transport17 states that the Highways Agency has

concluded that the accident reduction from lighting motorway links (that is, between junctions)

is of the order of 10%,iv and so may not be justified in cost–benefit terms. Logically, application

of these findings should automatically lower the level of lighting required for motorways and help

reduce the impact of lighting on the countryside. However, recent studies by the Department for

Transport in relation to other roads suggest that such straightforward relationships are obscured

by a large number of other factors.18 The latest international guidance from the International

Commission on Illumination (CIE)19 suggests that the highest level of lighting should be on roads

where pedestrians and vehicles meet. This again should automatically lower the level of lighting

required for motorways and help reduce the impact of lighting on the countryside. The use of the

new lower benefit figures when assessing future plans for installation and replacement of road

lighting schemes could have a significant impact on the extent to which future roads are lit.20

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/other/9780108508547/9780108508547.pdf

Edited by laser_jock99

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I'd like to see the stats.

Jabberwocky's comment was based on his personal experience as a professional driver. I think his point is totally valid. If unlit motorway are making professional lorry driver sleepy, then those motorway should be lit. The next step will be to try and minimise the light pollution emitted from those lights.

I'd rather have a bit more light pollution than having a 40 tonne lorry rear end me on the motorway.

Edited by E621Keith

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Jabberwocky's comment was based on his personal experience as a professional driver. I think his point is totally valid. If unlit motorway are making professional lorry driver sleepy, then those motorway should be lit. The next step will be to try and minimise the light pollution emitted from those lights.

I'd rather have a bit more light pollution than having a 40 tonne lorry rear end me on the motorway.

I'd like to think that the Department of Transport & Highways Agencys conclusion is based upon the analysis of the behaviour of 50 million drivers.

Edited by laser_jock99

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I haven't seen the department of transport's report. If the statistic analysed 50 million drivers, it may skewed the results towards commuters. Furthermore there are only 63 million people in the UK, if the DoT claimed to have analysed behaviours of 50 million UK drivers, then there is a lot more to worry about the validity of that results than whether the opinions were skewed.

Personally I prefer dark unlit motorways, but I drive a small car and only go on the motorway once a week. I don't experience what a 40 tonne lorry drivers who drives over 50hrs a week experiences, but I believed their opinion should be more important than mine.

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Interesting debate.

My own opinion is that I prefer driving on unlit roads at night, as my own lighting is directional and provides maximum contrast where I actually want to see.

As for professional drivers, I understand that driving long duration trips is tiring and in darkness doubly so - isn't that why a 12 hour stint without a break is illegal? I thought it was 9 hours daily max in 4.5 hour stints with long breaks? Breaking or even pushing the legal limits to maximise profit would seem to be criminally stupid. Not that that changes the fact that night driving is more tiring than day driving but it only adds to the fact that if you are driving at night its your duty of care to make sure you are alert to the local conditions.

Just my opinion.....

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I drive all over the country at different times of day and night, and my personal preference is for unlit motorways on the whole, although I can see the benefit at junctions - and even then I'd like to see better light efficiency there.

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