If you’ve ever thought that the roads seem to be busier – then you’d be right. There were more than 31 million cars in the UK in 2016 and last year the number of miles being driven increased to 320.5 billion – an almost 2% increase compared to the previous 12 months. So where have all these cars come from and is the future of driving all about road rage and traffic jams?
The UK takes the title as the fourth most congested developed country on the planet with drivers wasting 32 hours a year stuck in traffic during peak times. We’re also the road rage capital of the world, so our roads are pretty perilous to be on. But it’s probably no surprise, especially to anyone that’s been sat in a jam on their way to or from work. It’s also estimated that clogged roads in 2016 cost us and the economy more than £30 billion.
The Department for Transport (DfT) have identified various reasons as to why traffic has increased – our population is growing, meaning more learner drivers, and we’re demanding more stuff which means an increase in lorries and vans. The stats make that clear with a 2.8% rise in HGVs and a 3.4% rise in vans on the roads in 2016, racking up 17 billion miles and 48.5 billion miles respectively. The DfT have also shown that fuel prices have declined (although it doesn’t feel like it), further encouraging the growth in vehicles on the road which has increased 5.5% in the last year.
But it’s not just honking great lorries and white van men that are bunging up the roads. Car drivers were just as guilty with a 0.7% increase in miles driven – bringing the total miles driven in cars to 249.5 billion. To put that into perspective, Pluto (the furthest planet from Earth) is only 2.7 billion miles away – practically next door compared to vehicular miles driven.
So, what does the future hold? Well, the government has promised to set aside £2.6 billion for various transport projects with the aim of reducing congestion and cutting down travel times. It’s also promised £1.1 billion to repair potholes and local roads – so no more spilt coffee when you land in one.
Whilst we all know roadworks and improvements won’t be done in a hurry, we can at least be mildly optimistic about the state of our roads in the long term. But all of this news of congested roads and increased traffic comes against a backdrop of car insurance price hikes, so drivers can be forgiven for feeling just a little bit hard done by.
Which is why comparing the market is so important – it means that you can be confident about getting the right deal on your car insurance. So, go on, start comparing today – you might find something to smile about.