Crash Course in Road Risks

It’s a hard-hitting fact that three people an hour are killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads [1].

It’s 72 people a day. Over 500 a week.

Accidents don’t always have such serious outcomes, but driving will always be a bit unpredictable. We can’t control everything that happens on the road. But if there’s anything that can help us manage these risks – we’re all ears, right?

First, the clever science bit

Thanks to our little black box, we’re always learning through telematics tech. Over the last decade, we’ve built up a picture of different driving behaviours from over 6 billion miles of customer journeys. This data shows that safe driving involves a combination of factors.

We recently teamed up with our friends at Mind Foundry to tap into their Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills.  Their machine learning has helped analyse millions of driving journeys, identifying key moments that tip drivers into the danger zone. They agree – it’s not just speed that makes cars crash.

How to stay on the safe side

Here’s our four main findings to reduce your accident risk:

Know your limits:  Drive at a speed that is appropriate for the road and the conditions. That sometimes means driving even slower than the limit.  Consider where your journey may take you.  For instance, we know that a high number of accidents happen on rural roads.  Their narrow twists and turns can present difficulties for even the most skilled drivers.  Throw in some typical UK weather and that afternoon drive in the countryside becomes a bit more of a challenge.  Believe it or not, motorways are statistically the safest way to travel – but only if you adjust speed in line with road conditions.  Slower is sometimes wiser here.

It’s about time:  Our data shows that more accidents happen after dark. Drivers can be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking quieter roads equal safer journeys.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Our data shows that drivers are more likely to have an accident if they’re on the roads between 9pm and 2am. Unlike other black box insurers, we don’t limit drivers with a curfew.  What we do say is avoid getting behind the wheel late at night if you can.

Be a smooth operator: The roads are unpredictable enough without adding erratic driving into the mix.  So, don’t hit the accelerator or brakes too harshly – unless in an emergency. We also know that one of the biggest causes of road accidents comes from not looking properly. This is where the old ‘mirror, signal manoeuvre’ mantra still comes in handy.  Be aware and look carefully before pulling out.  This will help avoid the need to speed up or slow down out of the blue.

Give yourself a break: Tiredness can be a killer – literally. The need to nap causes up to 20% of road accidents [2]. Be aware that peaks in tiredness tend to happen between 2-4pm and 2-6am. Plan your trip and take some time out from behind the wheel. A journey of over two hours calls for a break. Map out the best service stations to stop at. Any excuse for a bit of fast food. It’s for safety’s sake after all….

Before we leave you to digest all of this, remember to keep an eye on Your Portal for your driving updates.