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Revealed: 10 Worst Places in the UK to Take a Wrong Turn

People in the UK spend on average 400 days commuting to and from work during their lifetimes, while more than two months of an average motorist’s life is spent stuck in traffic jams.

To help make your commute (or other car journeys) as fast and painless as possible the data analysts at Quotezone.co.uk have crunched the numbers to find the roads you should try to avoid: the worst places in the UK to take a wrong turn.

Explore our interactive map now, or read on to learn more.

Revealed - 10 Worst Places in the UK to Take a Wrong Turn

Uncovered: The Worst Place in the UK to Take a Wrong Turn

You will probably be familiar with this road if you’ve ever heard Chris Rea’s hit song ‘The Road to Hell’ (we’re not joking, the road actually inspired the song), or have had the misfortune of driving along its 117 mile stretch around the British capital.

The M25 around London is one of the UK’s busiest motorways, which doesn’t make things any easier if you miss your southbound exit on the M26 and accidentally end up on this ‘road to hell’…because you’ll have to travel for another 18 miles on the M25 before you can turn back.

That 18 mile stretch between turnoffs is the longest distance between junctions on any of the UK’s many motorways, making this infamous road the worst place in the UK to take a wrong turn.

And it’s not just us who dislike this motorway, the British public agrees: they voted it the UK’s least favourite motorway.

Revealed: The Motorway with 10 Hour Traffic Jams

The M6 is Britain’s first toll motorway and features a rather puzzling spaghetti junction. Worse still, this motorway is notorious for congestion and traffic jams.

In 2017 research by the traffic analytics firm, Inrix, found that the M6 witnessed three of the UK’s worst traffic jams, amounting to an estimated £2,176,545 in wasted time, fuel and unnecessary carbon emissions.

One of those traffic jams lasted a whopping 10 hours, so if you take a wrong turn on the M6 it could take a rather long time to travel the 13 miles to the next junction.

Driving under duress: a recipe for road rage?

Travelling on heavily congested roads can significantly elevate a driver’s stress levels, which can in turn increase their likelihood of taking a wrong turn.

According to research by Dr David Lewis, a psychologist at the University of Sussex who first coined the term ‘road rage’ in 1985, driving on heavily congested roads or getting stuck in traffic jams can have a very pronounced effect on a driver’s stress levels.

It is an unfortunate coincidence, then, that many of the UK’s worst places to take a wrong turn also happen to be roads that frequently suffer severe traffic congestion, making your chances of taking the wrong exit on those roads both more likely to happen and more stressful when it does happen.

Beyond wasting time on an unfortunate detour, there’s also a safety factor and a monetary factor to consider, because research suggests stress can increase a driver’s risk of having to claim on their car insurance due to a road traffic accident.

How to Avoid Stress on the Road

You may have missed your exit and now have to make a time-consuming detour. Or perhaps someone cut you off, or they’re tailgating you in order to make you speed up.

Whatever the cause, keeping calm when you’re behind the wheel is easier said than done. There are a few basic principles that can help you keep your cool on the roads, though:

  • Plan the route – sat-nav can be a great tool, but it’s still best to familiarise yourself with the directions before you set off on your journey. Use our tool to dodge the worst places in the UK to take a wrong turn, which just might make your journey go a little more smoothly.
  • Slow down and read road signs – If you’re in an unfamiliar place it’s best to slow down a little so that you can take in signs and markings and avoid getting lost.
  • Leave early – Feeling rushed is a key factor that contributes to elevated stress levels when you’re behind the wheel, so ensure you leave early to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Take a break – If you’ve done all of the above and you’re still feeling stressed it might be a good idea to stop for a short break – a few minutes to destress could be all it takes to help you avoid taking a costly wrong turn.