The number of traffic collisions reported on UK roads fell in 2020 as lockdowns and other coronavirus restrictions cut traffic levels. That’s according to data from accident aftercare provider AX, which has found rear-end shunts declined drastically last year, down by more than a quarter.
AX’s research found an overall reduction in accidents of at least 11 percent as a result of lower traffic, with drivers staying at home during the pandemic. However, the proportion of rear-end accidents fell even more noticeably, with incidents down by 27 percent. Such crashes now make up almost a quarter (24.7 percent) of all accidents.
The fall in numbers means these crash are no longer the most common type of accident on UK roads. AX’s data shows collisions involving parked vehicles are now the most likely incidents on British streets, accounting for 30.3 percent of all crashes.
Last year, the positions were reversed, although the difference between the two types of accident was far smaller. In 2019, 29.6 percent of accidents involved parked cars, while exactly 30 percent of all accidents involved a car being rear-ended.
AX says the change may be down to the fact cars now spend more time parked as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And the company says the drop in rear-end incidents could be down to safety technology such as autonomous emergency braking, which is now standard on many new vehicles.
As well as changing the type of accidents seen on the roads of Britain, the coronavirus pandemic has also changed the time at which these incidents occur. AX’s data shows the peak time for accidents in 2020 was between 3pm and 4pm – school run time. That’s a shift from 2019, when the majority of accidents took place between 5pm and 6pm.
The AX analysts say the change may have taken place because while commuters, who might normally travel later in the afternoon, are now working from home, schools have stayed open for the majority of the year.
“It’s fascinating to see how the pandemic has impacted how and when collisions occur,” said Scott Hamilton-Cooper, the director of sales and operations at AX. “For instance, our data shows a definite shift of incidents to early and mid-afternoon from the typical morning rush hour.
“Ordinarily, our data would show that November to March is when the greatest number of accidents occur – when the days are shorter, there’s more rainfall and, at times, wintery conditions can make the roads treacherous. However, the result of two national lockdowns, in addition to a change in vehicle congestion levels during this period, means our data will paint a very different picture this winter.”