Avoiding Road Traffic Accidents in York This Winter

20 Nov 2018 @ 9.18 am
| Transport

Residents of the UK are fortunate enough to live in a country with one of the world’s highest rates for road safety.  Yet motorists in Yorkshire may not agree with this.  Congestion is a major concern with the eastern side of the A1237/A64 roundabout in York being the current holder of the most congested road in Yorkshire.  In 2017 there were a whopping 1000 traffic jams, adding travelling time and costing the economy a staggering £10.3 million is lost revenue.  Add that to the western side of the A1237/A64 roundabout – the second most congested road in Yorkshire – and you get 1763 incidents of traffic congestion bringing the total cost to the local economy to £16.9 million.

Thanks to road rage and sheer frustration, the risks on the roads increase significantly when there is traffic congestion, causing drivers to make poor – and often costly – decisions.  Many drivers break the speed limit once they have escaped from the traffic jam, or follow a different route – causing rat-runs throughout built up areas putting pedestrians, cyclists and even parked cars at risk.

In Yorkshire there are 2,416 traffic hotspots that have caused 22,160 traffic jams so the reality is you are highly likely to become caught up in traffic.  To make sure you keep yourself, pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers safe from any further potential accidents or incidents we have put together these road traffic safety tips:

Traffic jams

When drivers realise they are at the end of a long queue of cars many find the option of doing a U-turn into a side road or driveway extremely tempting, particularly if you know you can then find another route.  Always make sure you look all around you before you pull out into oncoming traffic to prevent any other incidents.

Autumn sun

A recent article by a company of accident claims solicitors stated that autumn saw an increase of 15% of road traffic accidents compared to spring and summer.  Even though there might be many reasons for this statistic the main reason is Daylight Savings.  After the clocks go back we are often caught with the sun shining directly into our eyeline during the drive to and from work, which can make rush hour an extremely tricky time to negotiate the roads.

And it is not only motorists who will have their eyesight disturbed by the sun, cyclists will too so ensure you keep a safe distance away from them before and after overtaking while maintaining a wide berth as you go past them.  Over 18,000 cycle accidents were recorded by the police in 2016 with most accidents happening from 3pm to 6pm.

The best ways to avoid being blinded by the sun is to keep a pair of sunglasses in the car however it is a good idea to conduct a safety audit on your vehicle too.  Windscreens take the most of the road’s dirt and can get very dusty with each particle being highlighted by the lower sun in the mornings and evenings, making it increasingly harder to spot dangers or hazards.  Make sure your front and rear windscreens receive a thorough clean and maintain this throughout autumn.  You should also remember that if you are finding it harder to see the road ahead other drivers will also be having issues, therefore you should always maintain a good, safe distance from the car ahead of you and stay alert of your surroundings.

Weather

After the sunshine and warmth of summer autumn can be a miserable season thanks to fog and rain so make sure you always have your headlights on at the appropriate time.  Everyone knows rain can make the road slippery but it is worth remembering that fog can also be a problem.  Maintain a greater distance between you and the car in front so you have a better chance of stopping in time should you need to.

It is also important that the main elements of your car are in good working order.  Some garages provide a winter check-up however it is easy to include some simple checks into your weekly routine.  Check your windscreen wipers, heaters, demisters and brakes are in good working order as well as keeping your windscreens clean.

You should always make sure you clear all windows of frost or ice before you drive off.  Use your demisters before your windscreen wipers to reduce the risk of damaging the blades.

You should always make sure you drive the right speed for the area you are in as well as the conditions.  If you are not sure what the speed limit is take a look around you.  Although 30mph is the common speed limit for smaller roads many residential areas now have 20mph zones, particularly if there is a school nearby.

It can also be particularly difficult to see children cycling or walking to school, especially if there is bad weather or the sun is low.  Make sure you are extra alert when you are driving near a school, especially between 8:30am and 9:00am or 2:30pm and 3:15pm.

Look out for wildlife

One of the growing statistics on UK roads is incidents involving wildlife.  Over 450 people reported being injured in a road traffic accident involving sheep or deer, causing the death of 40,000 animals each year.

Each year the human fatality rate is increasing and wildlife is a huge problem. 750,000 accidents are being reported annually involving deer so you should always try to be more alert in areas that they are known to habitat, including the Peak District, Spurn Point, the North York Moors and many rural areas.

The number of road accidents involving sheep being reported is significantly lower than deer but is still a large problem.  There are many warning signs in the North York Moor informing drivers when it is lambing season but you should keep alert all year round, as these creatures do like to wander across roads.

Unfortunately accidents and incidents are an unavoidable risk of driving but taking measures to keep safe as the weather gets colder and the nights draw in earlier can help minimise the risks.  However if you are involved in an accident you should speak to a legal expert such as www.AccidentClaims.co.uk who will be able to advise you on whether you have a case or not.