Driving the UK’s Most Defiant Roads
Every motorist knows that driving can be dangerous every time that you get behind the wheel, but there are some roads that are much more dangerous than others. Road safety is paramount and you should always drive carefully, especially when you are driving on the UK’s most dangerous roads where there are many accidents each year. So, what are the UK’s most dangerous roads?
Although the UK doesn’t have the dangerous mountains roads you’d find in places such as New Zealand, some of the roads still pose dangers and claim lives year on year. Perhaps, as the roads don’t take you up a mountain puts the average driver in a false sense of security. So if you’re planning to drive in the UK which roads claim the most lives?
What classifies as a dangerous road?
This can have many answers, but mainly it is a road that is categorised by the local authority areas as a road of concern with a high accident or fatality rate in relation to vehicle-specific incidents. While it could be as simple as the road being "notorious" for accidents, it could also be dangerous due to the camber of the road, a particularly tricky-to manouvre corner, or indeed a road that is actually long and straight but warrants a higher speed of driving, such as motorways. To help those drivers who navigate their way through the roads in the UK, here is a selection of the most notoriously dangerous roads in the country.
What makes up a dangerous road?
A dangerous road is one that has high levels of congestion, has a lot of traffic accidents, and has low levels of safety. When you look at the bigger road picture of this statement, a dangerous road can actually be any road at all if not driven correctly. Back roads and country lanes are dangerous as they have a high risk of debris on the road and insufficient passing places. A-Roads can be dangerous as people may swerve out into the other carriageways and may be hazardous with more oversized vehicles, such as lorries and busses. Motorways can be notoriously dangerous as there is a higher concentration of traffic concentrated in one place at any time; paired with higher travel speeds, this can be a recipe for disaster. So when we are looking at the worst roads in the UK, we are looking at some of the common places that seem to attract a high proportion of vehicle-related incidents, accidents, and sometimes, fatalities.
Kirkstone Pass: A592
The Kirkstone Pass: A592 is one of the most dangerous roads in the UK, yet also one of the most beautiful which is part of the problem. The Lake District’s highest pass, you are surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty here so it is easy to take your eyes off the road. This is a bad place to do this, though, as the Kirkstone Pass with many bends and stretching slopes that can make driving a challenge.
Snowdonia’s Mountainous Passage: A496
Another beautiful yet dangerous road to be aware of is the Snowdonia Mountainous Passage: A496, which twists and turns through diverse landscapes. This means that your concentration levels must be high and you must not get distracted by the coastal views, mountainous routes and villages that you pass through.
Snake Pass: A57
As the name implies, the A57 is a winding road through the Pennines that is particularly perilous during the winter months when snow and ice can be a major issue. It is a road known for its high accident and casualty record with 137 accidents recorded between 2014 and 2018.
With hairpin bends, risk of ice during winter and steep, twisting roads, Hardknott Pass is a road that even the most confident drivers will feel nervous while navigating. This is a single-track road going through the Lake District and home to the historic Hard Knott Fort.
The A1 is a historic road linking London and Edinburgh, but motorists need to take care around Rutland as this is a dangerous spot with 5 deaths per 10,000 people. The A1 links London to Scotland and is the longest road in the UK. It is also the first road to be numbered in the 1920s when the system was new. Along the way, it passes through Rutland, and here it is at its most dangerous. The danger is not just in comparison with the A1, but the whole country when compared to head of population. Rutland has 38,000 residents, and the 20 road fatalities experienced between 2012-2016 represents five deaths per 10,000 people. One of the reasons that it is so unsafe is the scale of traffic and the fact that it is a road used heavily by lorries and other heavy-duty vehicles.
The A16 runs through the heart of Lincolnshire and by road death fatalities is the most dangerous in the UK. Between 2012-2016 two hundred and fifty-one people have died. This represents just over two deaths per ten thousand residents. Much of the A16 is long, and flat so you should never rule out falling asleep at the wheel, especially as much of the scenery is nondescript.
The A483 links Swansea in Wales to Chester in England. When it runs through Powys, Wales, it is by head of population the second most dangerous road in the country. Just over four people per ten thousand residents die on this road. Between 2012-2016, 57 people have died.
No real reason for the danger can be determined, but it is often mentioned on Welsh traffic news websites as accidents seem common.
The A965 has been described as Scotland’s most dangerous roads and with good reason as it is indeed the most dangerous road in Scotland. During 2012-2016 the road claimed nine lives, and per ten thousand residents, four people die.
The road is a major route and trucks come off Scrabster Ferry and supply the primary towns in Orkey namely Kirkwall and Stromness.
It is probably the volume and type of traffic that make this road one of the most dangerous in the UK. The scenery is often delightful, but the roads tend to be narrow, and if you’re new to the region this presents issues.
Additionally, as the road runs through towns, can cause traffic to narrow to one lane, and pedestrians and parked vehicles need to be negotiated.
Although British roads tend to be safe, there are clearly dangers in believing there are few dangers and becoming complacent. Ensure you remain vigilant next time you drive in the UK to avoid becoming a statistic.
The M1 is one of the busiest motorways in the country. It stretches from London to Leeds and has a daily traffic of over 120,000 vehicles. The road has been known to be dangerous due to the large number of accidents that occur on a daily basis. Additionally, many construction sites make driving on the M1 tricky. The roads here are often in poor condition and are usually covered with bumps, holes, and other hazards.
The A39 connects Devon and Cornwall with Wales and is another busy road with heavy traffic congestion. It is known for its extremely narrow lanes, which can lead to deadly accidents because cars cannot leave their lane in time when someone unexpectedly passes by them on the right side of the road. The cambers of the road and insufficient spaces to pass safely have led this road to be one of the most dangerously treacherous roads in the UK, especially if visibility is poor or the weather is particularly bad.
The A406 is one of those "notorious" roads that has earned itself the name of one of Britain's most dangerous! Often called "The worlds largest car park," The A406 is a circumnavigation road that centralises in London and splays out to the 4 corners of the country; however, it is the North Circular part of the road itself that seems to attract a place on travel news every morning as millions of people make their way to and from work. The road itself is confusing if you are unfamiliar with it and can cause so much danger with the sheer amount of traffic it can hold. Everyone is in just as much hurry as the next person!
The A6 is one of the most important roads in England but is also said to be one of the deadliest. It stretches from Luton, Bedfordshire to Carlisle, Cumbria. This road has been a vital connection for travelers since it was created back in the 18th century- even though its route now begins with an intersection with the A1 highway at Barnet. The location is heavily congested and has an accident or incident almost daily. Definitely, one to avoid.