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Road Safety: Are You In The Danger Zone?

November 20, 2015

With one of the most dangerous seasons for driving coming up, road safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Today we’re taking a look at the worst times of the day to drive, including the worst weather conditions and circumstances – as well as how you can best prevent traffic accidents from occurring.

Studies into traffic accidents show that:

  • 65% of fatal crashes occur due to driver error or reaction
  • 20.5% of those are because a driver didn’t see the oncoming problem
  • 34% of crashes occur due to loss of control after identifying a problem on the road

The Drunk, the Drowsy and the Dangerous


In 2013, the total number of UK road fatalities due to road traffic accidents was 1,713. Compared to previous years’ statistics, the number of recorded fatalities have continued to decrease each year, with 2013’s fatality count being the lowest since 1926. However, last year, it was recorded that there were 1775 fatalities – with official reports stating that there were 6 deaths every day due to road accidents.

The Witching Hours

According to a study by ROSPA, the most dangerous time to drive is between 7pm and 6am – with the highest number of incidents occurring through the night. During these hours, your body naturally wants to sleep – and because many motorists fail to adhere to warnings about driving while tired, there are, on average, 47,373 casualties as a result. Coupled with the fact that these hours are the darkest during the day, making visibility limited, a crash is more likely to happen.

Drunk drivers are also likely to be driving during the weekend, and a study by Bactrack concluded that Saturday would be the worst day of the week to drive – due to the number of cars on the road and the fact that more drunk drivers would get behind the wheel.

Swerving Into Chaos

Drinking and driving also increases the risk of dangerous driving, regardless of how much you’ve had to drink. Over 200 of the total road traffic fatalities in 2013 were due to drunk drivers.

However, surprisingly enough, another study has shown that driving while dehydrated can have exactly the same effects as driving when drunk. The study found that drivers made 101 errors when dehydrated, as opposed to the 47 they made while hydrated. The increase of 54 mistakes was down to drivers feeling tired and a weakened mental state caused by water deprivation.

The Young and Inexperienced

Young drivers are repeat offenders when it comes to driving over the limit – and with many dangerous driving adverts targeted at audiences of 17 -25 year olds, it’s clear to see why the government is concerned with driver safety amongst young adults. One in four 18-24 year olds crash within two years of passing their test, due to overconfidence and inexperience when it comes to spotting potential road hazards.

Research by Brake also showed that young drivers will consciously take risks whilst driving – such as speeding, overtaking in a blind spot, driving on drugs and not wearing seat belts. The dangerous driving habits of Britain’s younger drivers account for 12% of fatal crashes each year.

Weather Worries


On the first snow day of the season, you are 14% more likely to be involved in a crash – with many opting for public transport for the first few days of the season to avoid the unpredictable road conditions.

However, although winter weather conditions are difficult to drive in, you’ll find that summer ends up being the worst season of all – and some research even indicated that July 25th at 11am was the worst time for you to be on the road this year. Traffic accidents in the summer account for 27.5% more than in winter, due to many families taking their holidays in the UK and the number of vehicles on the road increasing during the summer holiday season.

Location, Location, Location

A few years ago, the UK had the safest roads in Europe, leading the way for road safety. This was due to the number of motorists on the road – with significantly less than other countries, lessening the risk of traffic collisions.

In recent years, however, it’s been knocked off the top spot. The UK’s increasingly busy country roads are partially to blame – with 60% of fatalities occurring on rural roads. Britain’s notoriously bendy country roads combine high speed limits with plenty of blind corners, presenting a lethal hazard.

Staying Safe This Winter


With that being said, if you need to use your car a lot this winter, here are some tips to ensure you don’t become a part of the statistic:

  • Check your car battery – make sure it is charged and ready for sub-zero temperatures. Cold weather affects power output on car batteries – and as the number one cause of breakdowns, a battery check is a winter essential
  • Check your engine coolant – anti-freeze is a must have for your coolant during winter – and ensure your markers are between the min and max
  • Check your tyres – make sure your tread levels are intact to ensure plenty of grip on wet and icy roads. Tyre pressure should also be checked regularly to maintain stability on the road
  • Use a strong screenwash – ensure that the screenwash you use isn’t going to cause damage – and opt for protection up to -10 degrees Celsius
  • Check wiper blades – check if your wiper blades need replacing, as the cold weather can freeze and damage them when they’re in use

When it comes down to it, road safety isn’t an exact science – and unfortunately, there will always be circumstances out of your control. However, preparing for these in advance can protect you and potentially save lives that would otherwise have been lost due to lack of preparation.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.