Road collisions resulting in death or serious injury are on the increase in the UK, according to new research from car insurance firm Churchill. The company describes the rise as “concerning” and has advised drivers to follow some basic safety guidance to minimise the risk of an accident.

According to Churchill, the latest data shows more than 223,000 road accidents occurred on UK roads between 2018 and 2020. Over that period, Churchill claims the number of incidents leading to deaths and serious injuries increased from 24 percent to 28 percent – an increase of 43 more serious events for every 1,000 collisions.

Churchill’s research found attending officers’ records showed the most common contributing factors for collisions were driver errors or reactions, which featured in 66 percent of police reports. Behaviour or inexperience, including failure to look properly and failing to judge another person’s path or speed, is also a major contributing factor that’s cited in 23 percent of incidents.

Accident collision

The next most common factor is called “injudicious action”, which covers behaviour such as exceeding the speed limit, disobeying traffic signals or performing illegal manoeuvres. Together, such behaviours are a factor in 20 percent of incidents, while external factors such as vehicle defects (two percent) and vision affected by external factors (10 percent) are less likely to contribute to accidents than factors controlled by drivers.

More specifically, failing to look properly contributed to nearly 83,000 (37 percent) of collisions over the past three years. That was followed by failing to judge another person’s path or speed (19 percent), and careless, reckless, or hurried driving, which featured in 16 percent of collisions. A poor turn or manoeuvre (12 percent) and loss of control, which contributed to 11 per cent of road traffic accidents, rounded out the top five.

Stressed woman driver sitting at roadside after traffic accident

“The rising number of incidents on our roads leading to death or serious injury is deeply concerning,” said Nicholas Mantel, the head of Churchill Motor Insurance. “We know the main causes of these incidents are often down to errors and poor reactions, something that could easily be prevented.

“Avoiding alcohol consumption, getting a good night’s sleep, and focusing on the road rather than multi-tasking, can all help motorists have safer journeys and reduce these risk factors. If all road users just take a few extra seconds to check around them for potential hazards, our roads will be a safer place for all.”