Every year the road safety charity Brake coordinates the UK's biggest road safety event – Road Safety Week. This year it’s 21 to 27 November. It gets thousands of schools, organisations and communities involved in activities each year to promote safety initiatives and get us thinking about what we can do to keep ourselves and others safe on the road. It’s been going since 1997 and this year’s main messages centre around being Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable. 

road safety week steering wheel

Around 45.5 million people in the UK hold a driving licence and there are more than one billion cars on the roads throughout the world. And lots of cars, means potentially lots of accidents, in fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reckon that 50 million people are injured in road traffic accidents every year (that’s more than the whole population of Spain).

Last year, in the UK, the estimated cost of dealing with reported road accidents was around £15.3 billion. But it’s not just about the statistics, road accidents involve people and we can all do our bit to stay safe – so here are some fast facts to highlight the importance of road safety.

  • Five people are killed on British roads every day whilst more than 60 are seriously injured
  • The riskiest road to drive on is the A18 between Laceby and Ludborough
  • Forty-six per cent of drivers gave failure to look as one of the main contributing factors that cause car accidents
  • Young drivers are at greater risk of accident, drivers aged 17-24 make up 7% of UK driving licence holders but in 2013, they accounted for 18% of reported road accidents
  • Globally, 1.2 million are killed in traffic accidents every year
  • Using a seat belt properly reduces the risk of being killed in a car accident by 61%
  • If you ride or cycle, then wearing a helmet can reduce fatal and serious head injuries by nearly half (45%)
  • Hitting someone at 38 mph has the equivalent impact of them falling out of a fifth-floor window
  • Seventy per cent of drivers don’t know what the legal minimum tread depth is for their tyres but defective or under inflated tyres are the most common vehicle defects that contribute to accidents
  • Drivers that use their phones (including hands-free) are four times more likely to be in a crash and the penalties for being caught are now more severe
  • Poor eyesight is estimated to cause 2,900 car related casualties a year

But it’s not just about staying safe on the roads, you need to be legal too. Recent figures from the Motor Insurers Bureau estimate that there are around one million uninsured drivers on the road causing misery for drivers who are legal and have car insurance.

Uninsured hotspots around the country mean that in Greater London for example, you have a one in 18 chance of being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, which means little or no success with an insurance claim.

Being sensible on the roads is everyone’s responsibility, so stay safe and next time you’re tempted to race to your destination – just slow down – better to arrive in one piece than not at all.