Drivers are being urged to take extra caution today (January 16) as insurance data reveals it is the most dangerous day of the year on the roads.
Claims figures from the last six years reveal that there are more collisions on January 16 than any other day of the year, with more than 10,000 incidents on average.
That translates into 420 collisions per hour, or one every 8.57 seconds.
The data, gathered from claims made to Privilege Car Insurance and extrapolated to cover the whole of the UK driving population, shows that January 18 and 13 are also among the riskiest on the roads, with 9,638 accidents and 9,388 accidents each year respectively.
With short daylight hours and everything from high winds and flooding to snow and ice making driving conditions harder, it’s perhaps no surprise that January is hardest on motorists.
Separate data from telematics insurer insurethebox paints a similar picture of a dangerous month, although it suggests Monday (January 20) is the most hazardous.
Its figures come from its own driver records for the last five year and show that overall January is the month when drivers are most likely to make a claim, with five of the 10 riskiest days falling between January 12 and 20, despite drivers covering fewer miles across the month.
Bad day in Belfast
The Privilege research shows that matters are worst in Belfast, which has the highest collision rate of any city in the UK on January 16. Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Liverpool also make it into the five most crash-struck cities.
Most claims involved a driver whose car had been rear-ended by someone else, although single vehicle collisions were the second most common suggesting a mixture of driver error and dodgy road conditions contribute to many January crashes. Third on the list is having a parked or stationary car hit by another driver.
When asked what caused the collisions, poor concentration (24 per cent), bad weather (20 per cent), poor visibility (20 per cent) and tiredness (10 per cent) were the biggest factors, suggesting drivers need to pay better attention or take more breaks, especially when conditions deteriorate.
Worryingly, the data also revealed that 11 per cent of 18-34-year-olds who have caused a collision, did so due to putting on make-up whilst behind the wheel and 10 per cent of same age group blamed eating and drinking for their incidents.
Tips to stay safe
Charlotte Fielding, head of Privilege Motor Insurance, said: “We know that January can be a tricky time of year for drivers. Difficult weather conditions, fewer daylight hours plus, being back to the grind after Christmas can take its toll, leaving drivers feeling fatigued.
“We want drivers to stay as safe as possible. A few simple measures can reduce unnecessary stress levels and reduce the risk of collisions. Before you set off, ensure you have left enough time for your journey and if it is an unfamiliar route, programme this into your sat nav. If you can, take 15-minute breaks every two hours on longer journeys and keep your distance from the car in front, as this will give you extra time to react.”
Gary Stewart, service manager at insurethebox added: “With its shorter, darker days and often freezing temperatures, January has some of the most challenging driving conditions of the year especially the further north you go which probably explains why drivers in Scotland see accidents increase by almost a third this month.
London, the south of England and the Midlands see the smallest rise in accidents in January, at eight, 10 and 11 per cent respectively. But that’s no reason for motorists in these regions to become complacent. And the risk is even greater for the newer, least experienced drivers.”
This article first appeared in the Sheffield Star