Almost each and every one of us takes a journey on the nation’s roads every day. This could be as the driver of a car, as a passenger on a bus, or even on a bike.
But every year, thousands of people die or are seriously injured from being involved in a road traffic accident. In 2013, 1713 people died on Britain’s roads after being involved in a collision – with plenty more being seriously injured.
The statistics show that young people are most at risk, with drivers aged between 16 and 19 a third more likely to die in a car crash than people aged 40 – 50.
So what exactly causes most road traffic accidents and what can we do to stop them?
We all know the feeling of going on auto-pilot behind the wheel. Maybe it’s a route you’ve done 1000 times before, or maybe you simply remember roads like the back of your hand.
But, zoning out into this vacant mode can actually put yourself and others at serious risk of an accident. A study in America found that over half of all road traffic accidents happened within a five mile radius of the driver’s home.
So it is important to remember that even if you know the roads well, there are always hazards lurking when you least expect them.
Junctions are there for a reason, but there are many people who don’t look at oncoming traffic before pulling out into the road. Drivers failing to look properly account for around 35% of all road traffic accidents, and over 60% of these collisions end up being fatal.
As well as other vehicles being involved, cyclists and motorcyclists are also at severe risk of being injured in these types of collisions. In fact, the risk for them is even greater, as they are not protected by the car body.
We are all told from a young age to never drink and drive. However, one in six deaths on UK roads still to this day, include someone who is over the legal alcohol limit.
Drinking can impair your ability to drive in a number of ways. It blurs your vision, and can slow your reactions meaning that you will most likely not brake until the last moment.
You will also have a poor judgement of distance and sound if you are drunk, and many people also become over-confident when drunk.
This means they are more likely to take risks when driving that can put both themselves and other people in danger.
For many petrol-heads, feeling the power of the car beneath you can be an adrenaline-fueled experience. However, whilst most of us keep this kind of driving for the track, many motorists regular break the speed limit on normal roads.
This can sometimes be to extortionate levels, and tends to be found more on rural A roads than other types of road.
A person being hit at over 40mph is four times as likely to die than if they were hit at 30, so watching your speed is vital.