Wednesday 24 April 2024

Driving in the UK: how safe is it?

Driving in any country comes with some risk. In 2022, there were at least 29,000 killed or seriously injured casualties following road collisions in the United Kingdom. And through the winter, harsh weather conditions bringing rain, snow, and ice can present new hazards associated with driving.

Whether you’re only just starting out or you’ve been on the roads for years, it’s useful to keep yourself up to speed with road safety and preparation, along with learning how to reduce the risks while you’re driving.

What causes road accidents in the UK?

Driver inattention

In the UK, failure to look properly is the most common factor leading to road traffic accidents. In 2019 alone, almost 40% of all reported accidents had been linked to the cause, with drowsiness and mobile phone use remaining significant problem areas.


According to RoSPA, 27% of fatal collisions in 2020 were associated with drivers exceeding the speed limit and travelling too fast for the conditions. Speed is one of the most serious issues facing Britain’s drivers, so it’s important to know the importance of following the limits appropriately.

Reverse collisions

Unfortunately, it’s common for drivers to reverse into another vehicle. If your car isn’t fitted with parking sensors, make sure to do a thorough three-point check before you start reversing. And if you can see a vehicle reversing towards you, sound your horn or get out of the way if it’s safe to do so.

Busy junctions

Busy junctions pose a greater risk of collision. Since these areas are also busiest during peak commuting periods, drivers are more likely to be feeling rushed or distracted, increasing the risk of accidental collisions.

Parked cars

When drivers park their cars on busy roads, problems arise with oncoming vehicles. Although impatience might be largely to blame, many drivers who try to pass a parked car might leave it too late and collide with an oncoming vehicle during the attempt.

How can I stay safe while I’m driving?

Make sure you’re prepared to drive

Everyone learns at different rates, and even once you’ve have passed your test, you can still be concerned about your driving ability. Whether you’re anxious about the weather or the traffic, nervousness could cause distraction on the roads.

In the worst cases you may have an accident which can be potentially life changing. In this case you may be able to check if you can claim compensation if it wasn’t your fault and could get advice from a personal injury solicitor who may be able to help you.

Get your car ready

Has your car been serviced recently? Most vehicles in the UK should be serviced once a year or around every 12,000 miles, depending on how often you drive. Before you head out for a longer trip, make sure that you’ve checked your tyre pressure, lights, fuel, and windscreen washer levels – these quick checks will prevent inconvenient top-up stops along the way.

Avoid driving in adverse conditions

Lastly, driving in heavy rain or icy conditions can increase the risk of crashing. In the UK, most cars are equipped with tyres that aren’t designed to cope with anything but tarmac. Unless you’ve had winter-specific tyres fitted on your car, it’s best not to attempt driving in the snow.

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