Friday afternoon is peak time for Road Traffic Accidents

Posted on: 10 mins read
Last updated:
Mark Howarth

Partner, Personal Injury Solicitor

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It is always important to be vigilant when driving to avoid getting into any accidents on the roads, whilst keeping alert to any happening around you. In the last recorded year, 135,480 casualties of all severities in the UK occurred. That equates to 371 car accidents every day. But are there times you should exercise extra caution?

Searches for UK road trips have increased 100% in the last year

We discovered that searches for ‘best roadtrip destinations UK’ have increased by 100% in the last year.

As the weather gets warmer, the roads get busier. Searches for ‘UK holiday deals’ also, typically, increase from March, all the way until August, suggesting people will be getting behind the wheel for their holidays.

To find out how dangerous UK roads really are, our personal injury solicitors have analysed the latest accident data from the Department for Transport to find when and where most road traffic accidents (RTAs) take place across Great Britain and how you can stay safe on your next road trip.

Friday rush hour is the worst time to travel on the roads

Our study found that Friday is the day of the week when the most accidents have historically taken place when looking at the whole of the UK. Friday, in particular, continually sees an increase in the number of accidents, likely due to this being a day that a significant number of people travel on - whether that’s for road trips or weekend getaways.


No. of accidents















You’re least likely to be involved in a collision on a Sunday

If you are looking to travel, according to the data, the safest day to do so is Sunday, with a 32% decrease in the number of collisions when compared to Friday. Typically, Sunday is the quietest day on the roads due to shorter operation hours for shops and restaurants.

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5 pm and 4 pm are the times most likely to see car accidents

Rush hour appears to be the most dangerous time on the road according to the data, with a staggering 9,160 car accidents taking place at 5 pm in the last recorded year. The ‘afternoon rush’ (a time when many people are on the roads to get to or from work) is clear to see, with 4 pm the second most common time for car accidents with 8,556 collisions, followed by 3 pm with 8,521 accidents.

So, if you are looking to plan your road trip, we suggest avoiding this time. You could also see your petrol and fuel consumption rise significantly when there are more cars on the road, meaning you could have to spend more on fuel during your trip.

The safest time on the road, however, is the early hours with 4 am seeing the fewest car accidents (697), followed by 3 am with 792 collisions.

Take extra caution when driving in November, the most dangerous month on the roads

When digging deeper into the data, we can reveal that November is the most common month for road traffic accidents. In the last recorded year, 9,592 accidents happened in November. This could be because of the conditions of the roads, as we move into winter. November is also one of the wettest months in the UK, and these conditions can lead to more collisions.


No. of accidents

























The school holidays could give way to more road traffic accidents

Interestingly, though, there are more road traffic accidents on Fridays in July likely due, in some part, to the school holidays. Similarly, on Fridays in April, we can see that, in the last year recorded, there were 1,540 collisions. Estimates suggest that there are as many as 18.5 million trips planned at the start of the Easter school holidays, which could contribute to the rise in accidents.

June is the second most common month for car accidents and this could be because, during hotter months, we are more likely to see cars on the road as people travel to different places in the UK.

Where do most road traffic accidents happen?

Upon analysis of the findings, we saw that nearly a quarter (22%) of all road traffic accidents in Great Britain occurred in London, more than seven times the amount that was reported in the whole of Scotland or Wales. May is also the most common time for accidents in the capital, likely due to holidays and tourists visiting as it is often tipped as a great time to visit London,

In second and third place were the South East (16%) and North West (10%) of England – meaning that just almost half of all RTAs occurred in these three regions.


Most common month for accidents

All accidents




South East



North West



East of England



Yorkshire and the Humber



South West



West Midlands



East Midlands

October & November








North East



The East of England came in fourth place with 10% of all RTAs occurring in this area, followed by 9% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Standing as the region with the lowest number of reported incidents is the North East of England, with just 3,169 taking place, accounting for 3% of the total across Britain.

You’re most likely to be involved in a car accident at a junction

For cars, light goods and heavy goods vehicles, collisions at a junction were the most common. 76,203 accidents in the last recorded year occurred at a junction. This is followed by people overtaking, another common reason for accidents. Failure to check the road ahead is clear and being distracted could lead to an increase in these types of collisions.

But which type of roads are behind the largest number of accidents?

1 in 3 car accidents occur on local roads

According to the data, single carriageways are responsible for the most RTAs. Single carriageways are defined as roads where there is no separation - such as a central reservation - between you and oncoming traffic. So, if you were to overtake a car on a single-carriageway, you would be facing oncoming traffic.

Single carriageways on unclassified roads - 60% of the UK’s roads are deemed ‘unclassified’ as they are local roads intended for local traffic - are responsible for the most collisions, with 33,232 recorded in the most up-to-date report. This is followed by single carriageways on ‘A’ roads, which are major roads in the UK.

A common misconception may be that motorways see the most road traffic accidents due to their higher speed limit. Motorways saw some of the fewest accidents reported (of any road type), accounting for just 3% of reported RTAs.

However, that’s not to say that motorways and other road types that are commonly used for road trips don’t see their fair share of accidents.

Study shows that longer drives lead to less vigilance and increased sleepiness

Studies have found that drives that take place on roads with fewer speed variants - such as motorways and ‘A’ roads - are more likely to result in a crash. This is because the changes in speed help keep drivers alert, whereas fewer changes result in more sleepiness and less vigilance.

Our poll found that 69% of drivers do feel less alert and more prone to sleepiness during long drivers, which makes the school holiday rush all the more worrisome - particularly as over 18 million trips (and counting) are planned during these times. 

Experts reveal how to drive safely

Mark Howarth, Partner, Personal Injury Solicitor at Simpson Millar, said: “Road collisions are, unfortunately, a regular occurrence in the UK, especially around occasions such as the school holidays when we see more congestion on the roads. With more vehicles on the road comes a higher risk of accidents, and we can see that in some of the most common months for collisions. June is the second most common month for road traffic accidents, tying into the hot weather and people travelling with their families.

“However, it’s important to remember to exercise caution when taking to the roads, especially if you are taking a long drive. Other studies we have analysed show that longer drives lead to less vigilance and increased fatigue, suggesting we could see more accidents during these periods which is why it is even more important to drive safely.

“You must take a 15-minute break every two hours and try to avoid peak periods for traffic which we have identified are the most common times for collisions (rush hour periods between 4 and 5 pm).”

1.      Plan your route properly, including rest breaks

If you are planning a road trip, or any other drive for that matter, plan it properly. What we mean by that, is looking at the best time to travel, understanding the roads and the time it will take to get to your destination, including rest breaks in those estimations.

The Highway Code recommends that drivers should take a 15-minute break every two hours of driving. This is all the more important considering the top contributory factor for road fatalities is a loss of control, which can occur if you have been driving for too long without breaks.

2.     Look properly when driving, especially at junctions

Collisions are more likely to occur at junctions, so it’s all the more reason to always look properly and check that you are clear to move. Similarly, the second most common factor for road fatalities was failure to look properly.

If you feel distracted or less alert during your drive, look for the next service station or place to pull in and take a 15-minute break from driving. If you are driving with your friend or family, try to alternate driving between the two of you to ensure you are both rested before getting behind the wheel.

3.     Make sure you have enough time to travel

More than a fifth (22%) of road fatalities occurred due to a reckless or careless driver in a hurry. Driving in a hurry means you are more likely to speed, overtake people or be less vigilant - all common reasons for accidents. With that in mind, plan your route with enough time for breaks and anything else that might happen, such as holiday traffic.

4.     Stick to the speed limit

Always stick to the speed limit, even if you feel as if you are in a hurry. 20% of all fatalities happen because the driver is exceeding the speed limit so you must plan enough time for your route, including rest breaks and any other breaks you might need if travelling with your family.

5.     Always judge the road and the other vehicle’s speed, especially if overtaking  

We discovered that overtaking is the second most common manoeuvre that results in road traffic accidents. As such, you should always accurately judge the road and the vehicle’s speed before overtaking, especially as we can also reveal that single carriageways are the most common road types for collisions.

6.     Consider a dashcam

Dashcams serve as invaluable companions during long road trips, offering an additional layer of security should you be involved in a collision. These devices record the entirety of the journey and in the unfortunate event of a collision, provide crucial evidence by documenting circumstances leading up to the incident.

What should you do if you are in a road traffic accident?

Should you find yourself in an accident, our personal injury solicitors are here to provide you with trusted expert advice, delivered quickly and clearly. We've assisted thousands of individuals in securing the compensation they rightly deserve.

This compensation can allow you to get the care, support and treatment you may need after an accident and help you get your life back on track. This can cover costs incurred due to your injuries and any pain and suffering, any lost earnings, damage to your vehicle and other personal items, modifications to your home as a result of the accident and much more.

Navigating the aftermath of an accident can be daunting, which is why it's crucial to surround yourself with a supportive team. Our specialist Personal Injury Solicitors are here to provide you with the necessary support, whether you're the driver or a passenger, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

If you believe you may have a claim, please don't hesitate to reach out to our friendly team today. We'll promptly guide you through the process, providing the clarity and assistance you need during this challenging time.


We used the latest available data (covers all of 2022) which was released by the Department for Transport on 29 September 2023. Data was downloaded on the overall number of accidents and accident volume for different speed limits, road classes, road types and junction types, as well as accidents by month, day, hour and region.

We also conducted polls on whether long drives impact alertness levels and analysed the results from 281 respondents.


Warning over Easter ‘carmageddon’ traffic chaos – which day will see the worst traffic? Retrieved from

The Relationship Between Drivers’ Cognitive Fatigue and Speed Variability During Monotonous Daytime Driving. Retrieved from

Custom data downloads using DfT statistics road data. Retrieved from

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