Research by Road Safety GB North East, shows that, on average, over the last nine years, there has been a 5% rise in the number of road casualties within two weeks after the clocks go back.

The data also revealed that serious accidents have risen 8% and fatalities by over 14% over the same period in the North East region again following the end of British Summer Time.

In one area of the UK – Cambridgeshire - in a bid to increase cyclist safety in the area, Police have this week issued a warning to cyclists and parents of children who cycle to and from school, that £30 fixed penalty notices will be issued for riding without lights.

Road safety charity Brake in its bid to prevent road casualties and fatalities has called for all road users to ‘Go bright and go 20’, encouraging them to slow down, take extra care and allow plenty of time to stop in an emergency.

David Robinson, serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors and chair of RoadPeace North East said: “It is vital that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists take extra care of the dangers they face on the roads as we head into the darker and more inclement winter months.

“This research exposes the alarming vulnerability of road users when the clocks go back. The sharp rise in road fatalities in the weeks that follow the end of British Summer Time is disturbing.

“While we are regularly reminded of the many hazards and risks we face as drivers, such as drink driving, speeding and using a mobile phone, this is a timely reminder of the risks posed by the winter simply by the increased hours of darkness.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has long campaigned to adopt Single/Double British Summer Time in place of Greenwich Meantime - a new system which would create longer lighter evenings - in a bid to reduce road traffic fatalities and casualties caused by the darker nights.

David said: “While the debate about overhaul of the UK time system chugs on year after year and may ultimately not be a feasible option, there is much more that can be done to encourage cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers to protect themselves through simple steps such as high vis clothing, appropriate lighting and taking extra care.”