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The common causes of road traffic accidents


Official road accident records compiled since 2005 included contributory factor information. A recent correlation of the information within these records revealed significant insights into the most common causes of road traffic accidents in the UK. Listed below are some of the key facts of these findings.


Contributory factors to road traffic accidents

The correlation of the accident reports established 77 main contributory factor categories, which were complied under a total of nine headings. These headings were defined as:

  • Behaviour/ experience
  • Driver/rider error/ reaction
  • Impairment/ distraction
  • Injudicious action
  • Pedestrian only
  • Road environment
  • Special codes
  • Vehicle defects
  • Vision affected

Driver/ rider error/ reaction causes 68 per cent of crashes, making it the most common cause of road traffic accidents by far.


Top causes of road traffic accidents

According to these findings, the most common causes of accidents on the road were:

  • Failure to look properly – 35 per cent
  • Failure to judge other road users’ paths/ speeds – 18.9 per cent
  • Careless/ reckless driving, rushing – 16.2 per cent
  • Loss of control – 14.7 per cent
  • Poor turning/ manoeuvring – 14.1 per cent
  • Driving too fast for conditions – 10.2 per cent
  • Slippery roads due to weather – 10.1 per cent
  • Pedestrian failing to look properly – 7.2 per cent
  • Sudden braking – 7.2 per cent
  • Not keeping adequate distances – 6.7 per cent

These figures clearly show that most road accidents are caused by human error of some description. There also seem to be some difference in where accidents occur.

Environmental influences, for example, play a larger role in rural road accidents, while pedestrians seem to be involved in more accidents on urban roads.

Driver age and experience also play a major part in traffic related accidents, with learner/ new drivers often being at particular risk within urban areas. It also appears that reckless/ careless driving, speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol are more likely to cause car or motorcycle accidents with men than women.


Claiming traffic injury compensation

All too often, ‘innocent’ people are hurt in road traffic accidents. If you were one of the unfortunate people who were injured in such an accident through no fault of your own, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation from the individual responsible for the accident.

To determine whether you are entitled to claim, you can use the compensation calculator on Accident Advice Helpline Website. If you prefer to talk to an adviser about your accident, you can do so confidentially and free of charge by calling the company’s free-phone number.