Did you know, that the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, with only a handful of countries ranked above Britain in terms of road user safety? And yet despite this, accidents are still incredibly common, with 122,635 recorded in 2018 – that’s around 336 a day.
To begin to understand why road accidents are still such a problem on UK roads, you need to know when, where and why they happen. Here, we’ve put together a series of interactive guides which paint a picture of Britain’s road safety trends – from the months with the most car crashes to the speeds at which accidents are most likely to occur.
As you’d expect, accidents are more common at certain times, particularly when the roads are at their busiest. But just when do most car crashes happen on UK roads?
While you might expect that the winter months would see the most amount of accidents – with bad weather and dark nights making driving more hazardous – spring and summer months account for three of the top five when it comes to the greatest number of accidents:
November – 11,168
May – 11,050
June – 10,995
July – 10,985
October – 10,897
This could be due to there being more cars on the road, as people head out and enjoy the sunshine. Or, it could be due to things like sun dazzle, when light bouncing off dirty wind screens causes dangerous visibility issues.
Either way, it’s clear that accidents can happen at any time of the year. As well as the most common months for accidents, you can take things even further by looking at the days of the week when most accidents happen.
This is when things start to look a bit more as you’d expect. Four out of five of the dates with the most accidents all happen in winter months, with 19 January being the most common.
1. 19 January – 504
2. 2 November – 498
3. 4 December – 491
4. 30 November – 488
5. 27 June – 488
Dark nights, bad weather and wet roads – small wonder winter sees its fair share of collisions. But do accidents happen more regularly on certain days of the week? Use our interactive calendar below to explore which days of the week predominantly see the most road accidents.
So, Friday is the day when most car accidents happen, with Sunday being the safest day of the week on UK roads. And given the amount of people making journeys on a Friday (or speeding home from work, ready for the weekend), this seems logical.
What are the most common times of day for accidents? As you’d expect, evenings are most common, when people are commuting home after a long day at work. You can see which times of the day see the most accidents in our interactive guide below.
Does Speed Affect Accident Numbers?
As well as finding out when accidents are most likely to happen, we researched at which speed they’re most common. Take a look at what we found out in our interactive speedometer below.
Most accidents happen at 30mph, the most common speed limit on UK roads. 60mph, the national speed limit, also sees a lot of crashes. Though surprisingly there are more fatal accidents at 30mph than at 60mph, showing that speed isn’t the only factor in serious road collisions.
How About the Weather?
When it’s raining, more accidents are going to happen, right? Well, that’s not strictly true. Looking at weather data for when accidents occur, it’s actually dry, fine days that account for the most crashes. Take a look at how weather affects accident numbers below:
Now that we know when accidents are most likely to happen, it’s time to see where they’re most likely to happen. Some stretches of road are more dangerous than others, but where are they located? Find out below.
Top 10 Locations for Car Accidents
Big cities saw the most accidents, with London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester all in the top 10. Minor fender benders, meanwhile, have always been common in towns and cities, where confusing junctions, lots of lanes and long queues can make day-to-day driving dangerous.
What is interesting is that Cornwall, a county with no motorways and few large towns and cities, came in fifth place on our accidents map. This is most likely down to the amount of holidaymakers who travel to the region, where they’ll be driving on unfamiliar roads with lots of twists and turns. So, if you live in Cornwall or are just visiting on a summer road trip, take it easy out there!