Every driver thinks they know a safe road and one that’s dangerous. Personal experiences and anecdotes from friends and family can create an impression that some roads are more risky than others. Now there is a more reliable measure of the safety of the routes we routinely travel.
For the first time, drivers and communities can accurately find out which roads in Britain are safe. The Road Crash Index allows anyone to view the number of accidents on specific roads. They can then see whether there has been any increase or decrease over time.
Free and available to all drivers, the Road Crash Index has been compiled as part of a wider initiative to improve road safety standards across Europe’s main roads. Read on to find out how to use it.
Drivers could be forgiven for thinking almost every other car, van, lorry or motorbike has a dash cam fitted to it. The pocket-size portable video devices have boomed in popularity, with an estimated four million dashboard-mounted cameras now on Britain’s roads.
And that number is only set to rise. When 29 leading vehicle insurers were questioned about dash cams, all said they would consider accepting dash cam footage in the event of a claim. Some companies go so far as to offer discounts to drivers for using a dash cam.
However, one of the UK’s leading road safety organisations has spoken out over concerns that footage from dash cams might take traffic police off the roads. And privacy campaigners have slammed the phenomenon of ‘vehicle voyeurs’. These are drivers who publicly share footage of other road users without their consent. Find out how objections are increasing to this widespread and relatively new gadget.
Most drivers are well aware of the word ‘whiplash’ even if they’ve never experienced the physical discomfort it can bring. That’s because Britain has been called the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’, with 80 per cent of personal injury claims following a car crash involving whiplash.
The government says one whiplash claim is paid out every 60 seconds, and has launched a consultation as it attempts to tackle the problem. Things have got so bad, jokes have been made about the Britain’s drivers having the weakest necks in the world. But it’s no laughing matter.
The majority of whiplash claims are believed to be bogus claims, estimated to add an extra £1bn to UK drivers’ insurance bills – or £93 for every premium.
And according to Matthew Avery, an expert in car safety, only 10 per cent of claims are from people who have suffered serious injury with long-term side effects.
So how can drivers ensure they aren’t one of the few who suffer serious injury from whiplash?
Confusing? Our roadsides are becoming increasingly cluttered with signs
If you’ve seen a pointless road sign near you, its days could be numbered. The government wants to get to grips with the increasingly confusing number of signs that are sprouting at the side of our roads. It is planning new-look signs and wants to give councils the power to cull confusing and pointless road signs.
A road sign review was ordered after it emerged that the number of road signs has doubled over the last 20 years. It wants to help drivers focus on what’s important by removing any pointless road signs – what road safety experts call ‘visual noise’ – from the road side. The fear is that the growing number of pointless road signs is contributing to an increasing number of road deaths. Department for Transport (DfT) figures for 2014 show that the number of road fatalities increased by four per cent compared to the year before.