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CRASH! UK areas and conditions causing the most traffic accidents revealed in new study


Professional driving instructor group Local Driving School have analysed Department for Transport 2021 data to reveal the UK’s most dangerous roads for drivers.


New research on road traffic collisions 2020-2021 has revealed the most dangerous road types, conditions, and circumstances for drivers.

Overall, London is the most dangerous area for drivers - the twenty areas with the highest casualty rate were all London Boroughs.

  • Hackney had 2,828 road casualties per billion vehicle miles driven

  • Camden had 2,511

  • Westminster had 2,429

  • Lambeth had 2,422

  • Islington had 2,348

The UK average was 521 casualties per billion vehicle miles driven.

The most dangerous areas for road users outside of London were in:

  • Luton - 1,090

  • Blackburn - 916

  • Reading - 889

  • Blackpool - 860

  • Brighton & Hove - 859

The safest areas for drivers were largely islands - but Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City ranked highly for road safety:

  • Isles of Scilly - 0

  • Aberdeenshire - 101

  • Shetland Islands - 103

  • Moray - 104

  • Aberdeen City - 109

Overall, two in three of accidents on UK roads occurred in urban areas. When in urban areas, watch out for hazards. There are far more pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles, and other drivers in the urban environment than on country lanes.

In all, 57.2% of collisions took place on roads with speed limits between 21mph - 30mph. In comparison just 2,581 incidents took place on motorways.

30mph roads are more dangerous than faster roads due to the increase in hazards found in densely populated urban areas. The speed limit is just that - a maximum limit - and you should drive at a speed at which you can effectively react to any hazards.

The majority - 71.2% - of accidents occurred during daylight. Overall, 62,698 incidents occurred with dry road conditions, making up 68.7% of total accidents in 2020.

Of the accidents involving a junction, T/staggered junctions were the type that was associated with the most incidents on the road. In all, 25,626 accidents occurred at this junction type.

Image credit: Local Driving School

Instructors at Local Driving School offered this advice for approaching T/staggered junctions:

When preparing to pull out from a T junction:

  • Err on the side of caution when judging the speed of oncoming traffic.

  • Check both ways are clear, ensuring no cars or hazards are hidden by your pillars.

  • Stay alert for bikes, motorbikes, and pedestrians that are on the main road, or crossing in front of you.

Claire Davies, Marketing Manager at Local Driving School, said: “You are far more likely to face a hazard in a densely populated urban area. The motorway is fairly static regarding hazards - there aren’t cyclists, pedestrians, or other events occurring on the pavement.

“Always stay alert to any movement on the pavement. Take care driving past people walking erratically, and watch out for children near the roadside. As you approach people near a pedestrian crossing, slow in anticipation of someone stepping out.

“The use of mirrors is a necessity too. Check mirrors especially when turning or switching lanes in urban areas. In 2020, motorcycle, moped, and scooter sales rose by 11.4%, so drivers need to be more aware than ever before of motorcycles when changing lanes and turning.

“The results show that incidents often happen when you least expect them. While more collisions occur in fair weather and daylight than in other road conditions, perhaps due to more drivers on the road at these times, this could also be due to a relaxing of hazard perception and situational awareness in the conditions deemed the safest.

“Always stay alert when driving - these results show incidents are far more likely to happen in normal conditions, on low-speed roads.”

Despite the numbers of accidents seen across all of these areas and conditions, UK roads are currently safer than ever before. In 2020, there were 91,199 accidents, down from 117,536 in 2019.

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