Britain’s most dangerous roads

James Foxall
Written by: James Foxall
Posted on: 13 October 2016

Whether you’re thinking of moving house, changing your job (and therefore commute), or are simply curious, it’s possible to see how safe public roads are.

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 per billion kilometres travelled on around 28,000 miles of the country’s major roads. Here are its latest results.

Britain’s most dangerous roads

A285 Chichester-Petworth. Half of all fatal crashes occur on rural roads and Britain’s most dangerous is a curvy, leafy 12-mile stretch in the West Sussex countryside. It’s fast and twisty with 40% of serious crashes seeing drivers careering off the road and 23% involving pedestrians or cyclists.

A155 Revesby, Lincolnshire. Between the A153 and A16. This is Britain’s second most dangerous road with 33% of crashes with pedestrians and cyclists.

A909 Burntisland-Kelty. This Scottish stretch is characterised by 64% of crashes seeing drivers leave the road.

North West A588 between the A585 (Blackpool) and Lancaster
Wales A44 Llangurig-Aberystwyth
Yorkshire and Humber A643 Brighouse-Morley
East of England A1101 Mildenhall-Bury St Edmunds
South West A383 between the A38 and A380
North East A688 Barnard Castle-A68
West Midlands A428 between the A46 (Coventry) and A5

Roads that don’t get any better

A18 Laceby-Ludborough. This straight fast road in rural Lincolnshire is characterised by a high proportion of serious or fatal crashes where the car leaves the road. The rate of bad accidents hasn’t improved over two periods of assessment dating back to 2008.

A36 between Totton and the A3090 near Southampton, Hants. This four-mile stretch is next up. It’s followed on the persistent offenders list by many that are also ranked as the country’s most dangerous.

The Road Safety Foundation believes just 4% of the A roads it rates are classed as ‘low risk’

Britain’s most improved roads

A70 Cumnock-Ayr. Thanks to work including the introduction of mobile speed cameras, some re-profiling of the road, a new surface and junction improvements, the number of fatal and serious crashes on this road has been reduced by 94%.

A6187 Castleton-A625
A225 between the A21 and A25 at Sevenoaks
A4091 Tamworth-M6 toll
A537 Macclesfield-Buxton
M6 Junction 33-34
A6003 Corby-Oakham
A6068 M65 Junction 14-A629
A619 Chesterfield-Baslow
A642 A61-M62 Junction 30

What the expert says

Lord Whitty of Camberwell, chairman of the Road Safety Foundation said: “The pace of improvement is far too slow – just 2% of the network shows material reduction in risk. Much of the genuine progress in reducing casualties this last decade has come from safer vehicles. On many ‘A’ roads, the margin for human error is often small.

“The largest single cause of death is running off the road, where poor roadside protection can see brutal impacts take place. We can expect improvements in vehicle collision detection systems at junctions, but the laws of physics will not be rewritten. The road infrastructure and new vehicle systems need to be developed hand in hand if we want to see a real increase in road safety.”

Why this is important

Every day 67 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads, and crashes cost the UK around £15 billion a year. That’s without taking into account any heartache and distress suffered by the casualties, their loved ones and rescuers.

Although they’re generally faster moving, motorways aren’t nearly as dangerous as single carriageway roads. In fact a single carriageway A road is eight times more dangerous than a motorway and three times more dangerous than a dual carriageway A road. The Road Safety Foundation believes just 4% of the A roads it rates are classed as ‘low risk’.

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