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The UK regions with the best (and worst!) accident rates revealed


Significant changes to The Highway Code were introduced recently, compelling UK drivers to reconsider how careful they are behind the wheel. But, while individuals can take their own steps to ensure they drive safely, it takes careful driving from everybody in the area to guarantee safety.

With that in mind, the car insurance experts at Quotezone.co.uk sought to discover which UK regions are home to the safest drivers – and which areas have the worst road accident rates. By collecting and analysing car accident statistics from across the UK, a ‘safe driver index score’ was created, ranking regions out of 100 and determining which UK region has the safest drivers.

The top 5 UK regions with the safest drivers 

Wales proves to have some of the safest roads in the UK, while the west of England is also home to many safe drivers.

1. Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan 

The safest drivers in the UK can be found in Wales, in the neighbouring regions of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Across these two regions, only 85 road casualties occur per one million people, which is the 10th lowest rate out of all 168 regions analysed. With a safe driver score of 86.13/100, motorists can rest assured that they are on the safest roads in the UK when travelling through Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. 

2. Swansea  

Wales keeps up its responsible appearance with Swansea’s safe driver score of 80.28/100. The coastal county has 98 casualties per one million people, which is slightly more than Cardiff and the Vale. In 2020, the speed limit of the M4 surrounding the city of Swansea was reduced to 50mph to help increase safety around the city’s most “dangerous” roads. 

3. Swindon  

Despite the vast amount of traffic that whizzes around Swindon’s infamous and complex Magic Roundabout each day, the Wiltshire borough and town has a driver safety score of 79.38/100. The area has almost double the number of road casualties than Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan (164 per million), but a new Road Safety Strategy aims to tackle crashes that occur due to human error and road management. 

4. Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire 

Collectively known as ‘The West of England’, the four counties of Bath, North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire together have the fourth safest drivers in the UK. Its safety index score of just under 78.93/100 falls less than a point below Swindon. Somerset County Council has its own dedicated road safety team, Somerset Road Safety, to help reduce crashes and casualties on the road. 

5. Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot  

Wales once again proves to have some of the safest drivers in the UK, with reports of only 88 road casualties per one million people in Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot. With a strong safety score of 77.6/100, these neighbours to Swansea and Cardiff are home to the fifth safest drivers in the UK. 

Other notable UK regions with safe drivers  

Despite reporting 150 road casualties per one million people, the Buckinghamshire area of Milton Keynes has the sixth safest drivers in the UK. Yet, its safety index score (76.8/100) is only marginally higher than Berkshire to the south (76.2/100) and Solihull to the north (76.1/100), ranked seventh and eighth position, respectively.  

Further north still in Stoke-on-Trent, drivers have been given a safety score of 75.5/100, placing it in ninth position. Together with neighbouring Staffordshire (with its close safety score of 75/100), the road safety of the two counties have been overseen by the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership since 2001. 

The worst areas in the UK for car accidents

On the flipside, which regions of the UK have the worst accident rates? 

Blackburn with Darwen — a unitary authority area in Lancashire — is the worst area of the UK for car accidents, shown by its safety index score of just 16/100! In 2020 there were 1,840 reported traffic collisions in the Lancashire-12 area (referring to the 12 local authorities administered by the Lancashire County Council), plus 380 road traffic casualties in Blackburn with Darwen alone. The Lancashire government is taking steps to reduce the number of road collisions and traffic accidents in the wake of such numbers. 

Lincolnshire ranks second-worst for car accidents, with 246 road casualties per million recorded in Lincolnshire. Roads here in the East Midlands are notorious for their dangerous winter conditions, during which drivers are recommended to take their routes with care. 

The location that has the dubious honour of ranking third-worst for car accidents is Chorley and West Lancashire. The northern area sees an average of 205 road casualties per million and 385 accidents per 10,000 vehicles. The Lancashire Road Safety Partnership strives to reduce road casualties through managing driving speed, engineering, emergency response and more. 

Elsewhere in the UK, the city of London has been noted as one of the worst places to own a car, which is reflected by the borough of Camden’s low safety score of 38.93/100. Westminster also has the highest number of vehicle accidents in the entire UK (3,308 per 10,000 registered vehicles). The safest London borough for drivers is Bromley, which has a safe index score of 57.8/100 (subsequently ranked the 40th safest driver location in the UK). 

Safer driving tips: how to stay safe on the road 

It’s important wherever you are in the UK that you drive safely. Here are our top five tips for keeping safe on the roads: 

  1. Remember that a speed limit is not a target. Make sure you adjust your speed accordingly for compromising road conditions such as rain, fog and traffic conditions. 
  2. Avoid using your mobile phone whilst driving. Technology can be a fatal distraction for drivers, so ensure you put your phone away before you start driving. 
  3. Check your vehicle before you set off. As a driver, you are responsible for ensuring that your vehicle is roadworthy. From checking that your windscreen and windows are clean to ensuring all lights work, you should check that your car is in fully working order before making a journey. 
  4. Look twice before you turn right. Cyclists and motorcyclists are at risk of serious injuries due to drivers turning right without checking first. Remember to check your wing mirror, indicate and check your blindspot for potential road users before you initiate your manoeuvre. 
  5. Are you fit to drive today? From tiredness and a lack of attentiveness to drowsiness caused by certain medications, always make sure that you are fit to drive before getting behind the wheel. 
Interactive Map: The regions with the best (and worst!) accident rates

This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.