Telematics data reveals the 5 biggest causes of UK road accidents

Telematics makes up one of the cornerstone products amongst our extensive range of vehicle safety products here at Vision Techniques, so we know firsthand the sorts of benefits it can provide to drivers and fleet managers. The same can be said of Masternaut, another UK company specialising in telematics. Recently, it released its own telematics data to uncover the five biggest causes of accidents on UK roads, having analysed data gathered over 192,503,863 kilometres driven, during the course of 4,121,283 driving hours. Some of the findings might not be quite what you expect!

The biggest causes of UK road accidents

1. Bad driving

OK, so this might not be the most surprising element on this list. Bad drivers topped the list of the biggest causes of accidents by quite some way. Harsh braking was highlighted as a particularly dangerous element of bad driving, as it gives other road users (including HGV drivers) less time to react, increasing the likelihood of a crash. Harsh cornering and speeding are two other aspects of bad driving habits that make the roads more dangerous places to be, especially when used in conjunction.

2. The type of road

The road type also heavily factored into the overall accident rate. Motorways are traditionally seen as the safest roads to drive on, despite the high speeds involved, and the research appears to hold up that idea. On the other hand, urban roads were highlighted as being one of the most dangerous, with their sharp twists and turns, and tighter quarters being more conducive to accidents on the whole. Urban environments often pose particular problems for HGVs because of their large size. Together with the tight quarters, this typically reduces their visibility, making accidents a lot more likely.

residential road lorry

What’s more, the size and weight of HGVs makes these accidents more likely to be more devastating in nature. (This is exactly why we’ve developed our own range of VT Turnsafe cyclist safety products, which are designed to reduce the chances and severity of collisions between HGVs and cyclists.)

3. The shift hour

The research did reveal one truth already known to most commercial drivers and fleet managers, which is that the longer we’ve been driving, the more dangerous and erratic our behaviour eventually becomes. The research shows that a driver’s rate of harsh braking rises by 50% in their last hour of driving, when compared to their first hour – so regular stopovers and driving breaks are really important to ensure that proper standards are maintained. (Our recent post provides a rough guide to HGV driver hours to further explain why this is so important.)

4. Sun position

Now, here’s where things get a little interesting. Against conventional wisdom, the research shows that lower light conditions can actually be safer in some circumstances, since there’s a 14% higher rate of harsh braking when the sun is ‘prominent’ (higher in the sky). The theory behind this is that the frequency of harsh braking decreases in the rain and snow, as drivers deliberately drive more carefully. When the day is brighter though, drivers tend to be more confident, which in turn leads them to occasionally drive more erratically.

road (com)

5. Day of the week

Perhaps not surprisingly, the general rate of bad driving appears to be higher at the weekends. According to Masternaut’s research, harsh braking tends to remain consistent on the weekdays, but it increases drastically by 21% at the weekends.

So what can fleet managers do to protect their drivers?

Happily, there are a number of measures that fleet managers can take, many of which we offer right here at Vision Techniques. Many fleet managers find that installing telematics systems on their own vehicles can be helpful in enforcing expected standards – especially vital considering the aforementioned devastating potential of HGVs. More than that, though, it can also help you to plan journeys around key periods like rush hours, or particularly busy areas of city centres – both of which can help you to sidestep two of the biggest factors in crashes that we’ve already described above.

Installing vehicle cameras on your HGVs is often a good idea too, or an in-vehicle mobile recording solution like VT Record. While cameras can extend your drivers’ active field of vision and overall awareness, VT Record can provide irrefutable proof of exactly what happened in the event of any accident, exonerating your drivers from any unfair blame and saving you on unnecessary litigation costs.

These are just a few examples of the wide range of vehicle safety products we stock here at Vision Techniques – you may well have your own ideas in mind! You can explore our full range here, or if you’ve got any questions or need any advice from a member of our team, feel free to give us a call on 01254 679 717. We’re here to help!