Safest UK Cars & Roads
Driving safely is important to any road user, but what are the safest cars and roads? We have compiled a list of the safest cars and roads, we have also noted the higest risk roads in the UK!
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Safest UK cars
When you purchase a car you should always consider the safety aspects of the vehicle. This is especially true when it comes to buying a family car as keeping your little ones safe is a high priority. Here you will find out more about the UK’s safest cars and what aspects make one car safer than another.
How have cars become safer?
Every year cars become safer as new technologies and materials provide improved safety features on vehicles. Here are a few design features which improve the safety of your car:
Cars of today are designed to crumple so that they absorb the impact of a collision and protect the passengers inside the vehicle. This is why sometimes cars come out of a crash looking a lot worse than the scale of the incident.
Cars also have specially designed bumpers so they have less impact if the car hits a pedestrian.
The driver’s head restraint is designed for both comfort and safety. All vehicles must have a head restraint for front passengers as they protect the head and reduce the risk of neck injury during a crash.
Anti-lock breaking system
The majority of new cars now come with anti-lock breaking system (ABS) which helps you stop. ABS stops your wheels from locking up on slippery services and result in a shorter stopping distance. Although they do not stop you from being in an accident they can assist in poor weather conditions.
There are many more features which improve the safety of your car to reduce the risk of an accident, however, some cars are considered safer than others…
UK Safest Cars
Euro NCAP are responsible for testing all cars in the UK. Each year they provide a list of the previous year’s top safest cars they have tested. To assess the safety of a car they rate each vehicle on how well it protects the adult driver, adult passengers, child passengers and pedestrians. They also take into consideration possible safety technologies and advances that help protect the well being of passengers and pedestrians.
Euro NCAP’s found the following cars to be the safest in their category in 2010:
- Executive category: BMW 5 Series
- Small Family Category: Alfa Romeo Giuliette
- Supermini category: Honda CR-Z
- Small off-road 4 x 4 category: Kia Sportage
- Small MPV category: Toyota Verso
You can read how Euro NCAP came to these results, videos of how they test vehicles and more about where these cars excel by visiting Euro NCAP.
Whiplash is a common injury for passengers during a collision. A quality designed seat can greatly reduce the risk of neck injury.
Euro NCAP have tested all cars to come up with a 2011 top 10 list of cars with the best seats that prevent whiplash:
- Opel/ Vauxhall Astra 2009
- Ford C-Max 2010
- Ford Grand C-Max 2010
- Skoda Yeti 2009
- Volvo V60 2011
- Seat Alhambra 2010
- VW Sharan 2010
- Volvo XC60
- Lexus CT200h 2011
- Kia Sorento 2009
When you buy a car you may consider style, brand and quality of the car as the major factors that influence your decision to purchase a specific car. However, you should always check the safety aspects of a vehicle as your safety and the safety of your passengers is important. You can check your car’s safety rating on the Euro NCAP website.
Safest UK Roads
When the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) compared the number of deaths and casualties on UK roads in 2009 with roads in the EU, the UK appeared to have the safest roads in Europe. They found in the UK, there are half the amount of road deaths compared to Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Portugal. In the study, IAM also found the USA to have far more dangerous roads than the UK.
You can find out more about the IAM study here.
It is reassuring to know the UK has less road deaths per million population than other EU countries and the USA. However, within the UK some roads are considered a lot safer than others…
High risk roads in the UK
Research shows some roads in the UK are considerably safer than others. The IAM claim that rural roads are the most dangerous roads in the UK accounting for two thirds of the UK’s road fatalities and serious casualties.
The European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), who monitor the safety of all the roads in Europe also found similar results. They assess a road’s safety by monitoring how many fatal and serious accidents occur for every billion veh km travelled. Between 2006-2008 they found the highest risk roads to be A roads in rural areas.
You can see EuroRAP’s road risk map for the UK and other European countries on the EuroRAP’s website.
Safest Roads in the UK
Even though motorways have the highest speed limits and highest amount traffic at any one time, between 2006-2008 EuroRAP actually found motorways to be the lowest risk roads for accidents in the UK. This is probably because everyone is travelling in the same direction, travelling at a similar speed and the number of hazards are decreased.
If everyone obeyed the rules of the motorway the number of accidents on the motorway would decrease even further. Unfortunately, not everyone obeys these rules and this is often what causes accidents on the motorway. You can reduce your chances of an accident on the motorway by:
- Taking breaks from driving if you are tired.
- Always indicating when overtaking on the motorway.
- Allowing other cars to join the motorway.
- Paying attention to motorway signals and warning signs.
- Never exceeding the national speed limit of 70mph.
- Obeying the motorway driving rules as set by the Highway Code.
Although motorways are the safest roads, you should still try and stay safe on the motorway and pay attention to what is going on around you.
Road Safety improvement
Overall, the IAM and EuroRAP have found that death and casualty figures as a result of a vehicle accident are steadily in decline. This could be as a result of improved safety technology in cars, less people on the road as fuel prices increase, improved road conditions or better driving education.
Improving your safety on UK roads
You can always improve your own driving skills to reduce the chance of you being involved in an accident on UK roads. If you would like to become a better driver on rural roads, which are the most dangerous roads in the UK, you could consider taking an advanced driver course. If you would like to become a safer driver on motorways read our motorway safety page.
Since the first automobile went into production in the early 20th Century, safety has become more of a priority for car manufacturers. In the early days of car manufacture style and image were priority factors over safety. Today, all cars have to pass thorough safety tests before they reach production so that they pass EU safety regulations. Therefore safety is on the top of every car manufacturer’s list.