Friday, March 2, 2012

Is Traffic Congestion the Main Cause of Car Accidents?

Go Figure: Are country roads more dangerous than city roads? (Michael Blastland, BBC News magazine, Jan. 19, 2012)

Also discussed here: Roads vs. Streets: Wherein the greater danger? (World Streets, Jan. 19, 2012)

A near fatal accident close to my home recently triggered the review of today’s post which examines the links between traffic accidents and health consequences in and around London UK. While more traffic volume and congestion seems to be related to more accidents, it is not as much more as one would expect . Also, it seems that non fatal accidents (involving only property damage) are greater with less traffic, more fatal accidents occur with more traffic where speed may also be a factor. One conclusion is that traffic characteristics need to be considered when designing safer roads and intersections.

Key Quotes:

“The police usually record contributory causes of an accident but they don’t include congestion or traffic density…During the 12 years to 2011, the police recorded more than three million road casualties in Great Britain. More than 36,000 people lost their lives and another 373,985 were seriously injured”

“Instinct tells us that more cars equal more hazards. When roads are full, people jump the lights; when it's a scrap for the gaps, margins of safety fall; when the going's slow, half the faces at the wheel are in a map, mobile phone or crisp bag, or nodding off”

“dense traffic does cause more accidents….Probably a higher traffic density leads to a shift towards less severe injuries”

“Is heavy traffic really protective in London, maybe because it slows us down? Is lighter traffic more dangerous in Northumberland, maybe because we’re less careful?”

“Incidence rates involving property damage-only crashes and injury-crashes are highest when traffic is lightest.”
Related articles

The speed with which the road rule is violated is cause for concern (
Intensification, Traffic Congestion and Air Pollution (
Hire The Experts To Investigate Road Traffic Accidents (
Decrypting traffic snarls (
Does Canada's Largest City Want Congestion Charges? (

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  1. Yes! that can be one of the factors that can cause a road traffic accident. Other factors includes people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And in a car accident, the common road traffic accident injury are neck and whiplash injury, head and brain injury, spinal cord injury or even death.

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