Road accidents, even a tiny shunt, can easily cause traffic to back up for miles.
Now there are apps such as Trapster and CrashMap which can tell you where road accidents have occurred en route so drivers can take action to avoid them. However, these apps are only as effective as the circumstances that may constrict them. For example, a driver stuck in the middle lane of a motorway tailback is not going to be able to move. In suburban areas and big conurbations, even the rat runs can get congested quite quickly.
What can the driver do?
Unless you are constrained by work, or have to do the school run, avoid driving when everybody else is on the roads. If it’s grocery shopping, for example, it can be done any time, within reason.
Plan your expedition. Maybe you can park in the town centre or the multi-storey and do several errands from one starting point.
If you can use the local park and ride scheme, even better.
Avoid road accidents
Most important of all, don’t become a road accident statistic yourself. Take the usual safety measures by keeping your vehicle in tip-top condition and don’t drive in exceptionally bad weather, or if feeling ill, drunk or hungover. This advice sounds obvious but it is astonishing how many drivers don’t practice it.
Although the overall trend in the UK of fatalities, serious and minor injuries from road accidents has been declining since the 1960s, around 200,000 people are injured each year and they represent a large number of personal tragedies. The authorities suspect that some injuries are not reported at all. Britain still has a lower than average safety record for children on the roads.
Places for pedestrians to take extra care are at crossings, especially the push-button crossings, which don’t give much time for slow people to get to the other side and on bends, and trying to cross from between parked vehicles, or getting off a bus. These situations are hazardous because of the limited visibility.