Anyone who has ever been stuck on a motorway following an accident will have shouted in desperation “Why don’t you just push all the wreckage onto the hard shoulder and get the traffic flowing?”
But on average 4 people are killed or seriously injured on each mile of road on our motorways each year. Here at What’s My Claim Worth, we look at the most common types of motorway accidents that occur daily on British motorways. If you have been unfortunate enough for a motorway accident to happen to you don’t worry as help is on hand!
Common types of motorway claims in the UK
Car crash pile-ups
Known for their chain reaction effect, car crash pileups or multiple vehicle collisions involve many vehicles and are one of the deadliest forms of road traffic accident. Pile ups generally occur around high capacity and high-speed routes but can also occur in good visibility conditions when road hazards are encountered unexpectedly such as a curve or crest of a hill. High volumes of traffic, high speeds, and short braking distance can all create the chain reaction effect!
Overtaking and undertaking vehicles
You’re flying down the motorway and suddenly the overtaking lane you’re in slows dramatically. A gap opens in the middle lane that would take you soaring past an annoying tailback, but if you were to chance it and overtake using the inside lane (or ‘undertake’ as it’s often known) could you be breaking the law or heading for an accident?
A driver undertaking could cause a very dangerous situation. The driver will change lane from the fast into the middle lane in front of another car and this could potentially cause a collision. In this type of situation, the person undertaking would usually be at fault as they should not be undertaking. The Highway Code sets out some rules that drivers must follow on how to overtake safely on a motorway. When changing lanes we must check our mirrors before moving and also make sure we check that blind spot as many motorway accidents occur when drivers have failed to check their blind spot before changing lanes.
Truck accident claims
Trucks and lorries are involved in an increasing percentage of serious and fatal road accidents on Britain’s motorways. More than half (52%) of fatal accidents on motorways involve trucks and lorries despite them only making up 10% of the traffic on motorways. Research shows that lorry and truck accidents can worsen due to factors such as high winds, congestion, poorly maintained vehicles and lack of area knowledge.
Speeding, tailgating and keeping a safe distance
Comprehensive data from a UK insurer has found that the southbound junction 47 of the M1 near Leeds is the country’s number one tailgating hotspot. Police reports indicate that over 1,700 injuries are caused every year by tailgating, which represents up to 15% of all injury collisions on British motorways. This includes around five fatalities a year. Young drivers are most likely to be involved in such an accident; roughly 37% of these accidents have been caused by drivers under 30.
Things to remember when travelling on motorways are to keep a two second time gap in good dry weather, double this for wet weather and spray from other vehicles and quadruple it for any icy, snowy weather!
Motorway road works
Orange traffic cones, contraflow systems and temporary maximum speed limits that stretch for miles – sound familiar?
Britain’s motorways are the busiest in Europe with approximately 153 billion kilometers travelled each year by road users, resulting in a lot of wear and tear! Motorway road works will normally be marked by cones, crash barriers or roadwork signs that have a yellow background displaying a warning or hazard. The best way to prevent being involved in an accident due to motorway road works is to plan your route. Check if there are any traffic controlling measures on your route due to road works, plan ahead when you see a maximum speed or warning sign and proceed carefully and in enough time that other road users will know your intentions.
Drivers falling asleep at the wheel
Strange but true! Longer working hours and modern stresses and strains of day to day life mean that more and more people are taking to the wheel unaware that their tiredness may result in a collision which could injure themselves or others. Worryingly, more than 2 million drivers are accidents waiting to happen because they fall asleep behind the wheel, and a fifth of motorway crashes, which most commonly occur between midnight and 6am or between 2pm and 4pm, are because of fatigue. Ways in which you can help ease tiredness are by taking regular breaks on long journeys, making sure that there is a good supply of air in your vehicle (that the vehicle is not too hot) and simply having a good night’s sleep before a long journey.
What should you do if you have a motorway accident claim?
In our “What to do if you have had an accident” guide we help you understand the details that can go towards helping you make a claim. At What’s My Claim Worth we have a specialist team of lawyers who have a wide range of experience dealing with all types of injuries caused by road traffic accidents. If you have experienced an injury due to a motorway accident then you should not hesitate to contact us on the number below or get a quick estimation by filling our Claimometer on our homepage.