Single-carriageway A-roads are three times more dangerous than dual carriageways and seven times more dangerous than motorways, according to research by the Road Safety Foundation, which has also named the UK’s most perilous road.
The organisation says 99% of motorways but just 3% of single carriageway A-roads are in the low-risk category. The majority of the UK’s top 10 most dangerous roads are in the North West of England and the East Midlands.
Junction crashes are the most common crash leading to serious injury. The RSF is calling for hazards such as trees, rigid poles and lighting columns to be removed. It also advises councils and the Highways Agency install more interactive warning signs, and apply anti-skid road surface treatments.
Meanwhile, the organisation has revealed Britain’s most dangerous road to be a 12km stretch of single-carriageway on the A537 between Buxton and Macclesfield. The route, also known as the Cat and Fiddle, saw 44 fatal and serious crashes between 2007 and 2011, a rise of 25% on the previous period.
The road is nine times riskier to drive along than the average single-carriageway A-road. It is bounded by dry stone walls or rock faces, and characterised by severe bends. It is popular with all types of roads users but due to its height, weather conditions can change abruptly. Head-on crashes accounted for 18% of all collisions.
The RSF criticises national and local roads authorities for a “weak and muddled” approach to improving road safety on the UK’s roads and says the greatest improvements in recent years have come from car design and safer driving.
“There is need now to focus on improving infrastructure safety itself in a measurable way,” said Dr Steve Lawson, director of the Road Safety Foundation. “The British public knows the safety rating of the cars they’re buying, but not their roads.”
The UK’s 10 most dangerous roads
1. A537 From Macclesfield to Buxton (map)
2. A5012 From A515 (Pikehall) to A6 (Matlock) (map)
3. A682 From M65 J13 (Nelson) to A65 (Long Preston) (map)
4. A621 From A619 (Baslow) to Totley (map)
5. A530 From A525 (Whitchurch) to Nantwich (map)
6. A285 From A27 (Chichester) to Petworth (map)
7. A6075 From A614 (New Ollerton) to A1 (Tuxford) (map)
8. A54 From Congleton to Buxton (map)
9. A5004 From A6 (Whaley Bridge) to Buxton (map)
10. A588 From A585 (Skippool) to Lancaster (map)