New Report Identifies the Most Dangerous Roads in Britain

A report published this week by the Road Safety Foundation, which is the British arm of the European Road Assessment Programme, has revealed Britain’s most dangerous roads in terms of accident numbers. Road traffic accident claims are widely believed to be on the rise in the UK, with whiplash compensation claims forming the bulk of new cases. By naming Britain’s most dangerous roads, the Road Safety Foundation hopes to raise safety awareness among drivers who frequently travel on them. In case the value of naming such roads is lost on motorists, it is a sobering point to note that 50 per cent of all fatal road accidents in Britain occur on just 10 per cent of its roads.

The Road Safety Foundation’s report covers 28,000 miles of A-roads and motorways in Britain and identifies the A537 between Macclesfield in Cheshire and Buxton in Derbyshire as the nation’s most dangerous stretch of road. The A537 is notable for its location within the Peak District; winding roads, blind corners, sharp bends and steep falls abound on the A537, which also happens to be surrounded by mountainous rock faces and dry-stone walls. Known as the Cat and Fiddle, the A537 pass through the Peak District claimed 34 lives between 2006 and 2008 – 19 more than the three years leading to 2005 – and most crashes tend to happen in daylight conditions.

After the A537, the A5012 Pikehall to Matlock (Derbyshire) is Britain’s second most dangerous road, followed by the A621 Baslow (Derbyshire) to Totley (South Yorkshire), A625 Calver to Sheffield (South Yorkshire) and A54 Congleton to Buxton (Derbyshire). The top ten most dangerous roads in Britain are rounded off by the A581 Rufford to Chorley (Lancashire), A5004 Whaley Bridge to Buxton (Derbyshire), A675 Blackburn to Preston (Lancashire), A61 Barnsley (South Yorkshire) to Wakefield (West Yorkshire) and A285 Chichester to Petworth (West Sussex).

Dr Joanne Hill, director of the Road Safety Foundation, claimed that more could be done to improve safety on Britain’s most dangerous roads at relatively little expense. Dr Hill said: “Not only can Britain reduce road deaths and serious injuries but, by targeting a relatively small mileage of high-risk roads, we can do so with good economic returns. Too often we pay for emergency services, hospitals and care for the disabled rather than taking easy steps to put road design faults right”.

Although the most dangerous road in Britain was listed by the report as the A537, Scotland was regarded as having the highest-risk highways; in fact, one in every nine fatal crashes occur in Scotland. Excluding crashes involving motorcycles further skews the top ten most dangerous roads list, with the A18 in North East Lincolnshire emerging as the most hazardous. Obviously, crashes occur for different reasons in different circumstances at different locations, so while one road may be particularly dangerous for car drivers another might pose greater risks for motorcyclists. Understanding why such trends arise is key to improving road safety.

The report by the Road Safety Foundation claimed that a third of all accidents involving fatal or serious injuries occur at junctions and 25 per cent of such crashes that take place on A-roads or motorways involve motorcyclists. Single roads are six times more dangerous than motorways and twice as dangerous as dual carriageways. According to the report, the West Midlands is the safest British region in which to drive, whilst the A40 between Llandovery and Carmarthen has experienced the most safety improvements.

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