Are urban streets more dangerous than rural roads in the UK?
The UK's road network has never been more vital, with the country slowly starting to return to normal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and more of us starting to use our cars again after weeks spent in lockdown. However, given that many of us won't have sat behind a wheel for quite a while, it's only natural that we might feel a little uncomfortable at first.
However, if you are living outside of a major city then you might be pleased to learn that you are significantly less likely to have a road traffic accident according to the Department of Transport. Indeed, in the largely green pastures of Scotland, there were only 5,405 recorded accidents in the last 12 months, as opposed to London, where there was 25,662.
67% of total road accidents happen on urban roads, but why are urban roads more dangerous and what could you be doing to help mitigate that danger?
Speed limit - Whilst it might be expected that there would be more accidents at higher speeds, the inverse is actually true. The majority of traffic accidents (60%) happen when the speed limit is between 21 and 30 miles-per-hour, which is the speed limit most often seen in congested city centres. Compare this with rural roads, where speed limits are generally between 30 and 60 mph and people are more focused on what's going on around them.
Type of road - It might come as some surprise that only 3% of total accidents took place on motorways in 2018 but it's been proven that A-roads are actually the most dangerous and single carriageways are significantly more dangerous than both dual carriageways and roundabouts.
Careful driving - When driving on smaller rural roads, drivers are going to be more focused and more alert so they are much less likely to drift off. On urban roads, we tend to be more confident and calm as it's more familiar terrain for most of us. We've all been taught to drive carefully on country lanes but on our commute to work, not so much.
More cars - On urban roads, there is much more likely to be more congestion and the more other cars there are on the road the more likely you are to collide with somebody else. Of course, there's no guarantee that there will be fewer cars on the road in a rural area, but you'll rarely see the kinds of congestion experienced in London.
It's worth noting that whilst there are significantly more accidents that take place on urban roads, 62% of fatal accidents happen in rural areas and car accident claims are quite even across both. So, regardless of where you'll be doing the lion's share of your driving, it's vital that you keep your wits about you, particularly when stepping back behind the driving seat after so long.