Just as cars are assessed for safety by an independent regulator, so are our roads. This is done by the Road Safety Foundation which analyses the number of vehicle crashes on roads in England, Scotland and Wales.
Most of us drive on roads without a second thought about their safety record, but this is the kind of information you should be looking at when you're thinking of moving house, changing your job (and therefore commute), or even travelling to a holiday destination.
Why is it important to check road safety?
Every day, 71 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads, and the Department for Transport estimates that in 2016 road traffic crashes cost the British economy £36 billion.
Although they're generally faster moving, motorways aren't nearly as dangerous as single carriageway roads. The Road Safety Foundation reports that only 1% of travel on single carriageways is on low-risk sections, with 8% on medium-high risk.
By contrast, 90% of motorway travel is on low-risk sections, while 23% of dual carriageway travel is on low-risk sections.
Britain's persistently higher-risk roads
A537 from Macclesfield to Buxton. This 11.6km stretch of rural and winding road in the Peak District is known as the Cat and Fiddle. Two-thirds of fatal and serious crashes on the road involved a motorcyclist.
A254 from Margate to Ramsgate. Only 6km, this road joining the Kent coastal towns saw fatal and serious road crashes increase from 8 between 2010 and 2012 to 15 between 2013 and 2015.
A259 from Glyne Gap to just outside Ore. Again in the south east, this 10km section of road has seen fatal and serious crashes jump from 21 between 2010 and 2012 to 31 between 2013 and 2015.
Most dangerous roads by region
- North West. A537 from Macclesfield to Buxton
- South East. A254 from Margate to Ramsgate
- Wales. A5026 from Lloc to Whelston
- Yorkshire and Humber. A682 from Barrowford to the junction with A65
- East Midlands. A57 from Hadfield to Crosspool
- East of England. A1245 from the junction with A132 to the junction with A130
- South West. A353 from the junction with A354 to the junction with A352
- North East. A193 from Howdon Interchange to Beach Road
- West Midlands. A428 from Coventry Eastern Bypass to the junction with the A5
- Scotland. A941 from Elgin to Craigellachie
- London. A4 from Langley Roundabout to Concord Roundabout
The Road Safety Foundation says 90% of motorway travel is classed as 'low risk'
Britain's most improved roads
Well done to the A4151 from the junction with the A4136 to the junction with the A48. The road was classified as medium-high risk for 2010-2012, but an 88% reduction in fatal and serious crashes has seen it reclassified as low-medium risk for 2013-2015.
The impressive turnaround for the road has been attributed to a host of things including a new 20mph zone, resurfacing, revised road markings and signing.
Others roads which achieved the biggest reductions in fatal and serious crashes include:
- A540 – 78%
- A14 – 77%
- A10 – 75%
- A535 – 75%
- A559 – 75%
What the expert says
Lord Whitty of Camberwell, chairman of the Road Safety Foundation said: "Overall, only 1% of road sections have shown significant improvement. More than 550 road sections, nearly one in five of the total, still have unacceptably high risks. The cost of fatal and serious crashes on these roads alone in the survey period was £1.73bn."