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What Roads are Safest and Why?

By: Simon McBride - Updated: 4 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
What Roads Are Safest And Why?

The road network in the UK is classed as some of the safest roads in Europe and this claim is backed up by the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP). This is despite that the motorways are some of the busiest routes in Europe. The safest road in the UK is said to be any motorway but why is this so?


The motorway system has the traffic separated by a central reservation and motorists are protected by crash barriers but there is more to it than this.
  • Slower vehicles are banned from using motorways.
  • A motorway will have a continuous central reservation in place to keep both sides of the road separate.
  • Updated stretches of the motorway network use concrete step barriers in the central reserve so that at night oncoming headlights do not dazzle drivers.
  • There are no roundabouts on a motorway.
  • Emergency telephones are located at intervals of 1 mile on every motorway in the UK. They connect you to either the police or the Highways Agency so you can get help as soon as possible.
  • There is a hard shoulder available for much of the motorway network so that if you breakdown you can pull into a safe place away from vehicles that are travelling at speeds of 70mph.
  • Minor roads off the motorway network are connected at junctions that lead off the motorway and drivers can only join the motorway at motorway junctions and exits from service stations.
  • Most junctions use a numbered system so that you know where you are exactly on any map.


A-roads in the UK usually mean that they are dual carriageways but have less safety features than motorways. They are usually a trunk route bypassing small towns and villages. A major problem with the A-road system is that they are broken up by roundabouts and there are frequently side roads joining the major route. If the A-road is a dual carriageway then usually there will be a split in the central reservation so that traffic can get off and on, many of these junctions are black spots where accidents repeatedly happen.


B-roads are less important than A -roads and are usually routes that are known to locals. They are usually 15 miles long in duration but their physique can change greatly and this is what makes them one of the UK ‘s most dangerous roads. The problem with the B-road is that they are usually narrow with lots of road furniture at the sides of the road.

The road furniture that we are talking about comes in many sizes such as stone walls, trees, animals, bridges, signs, telegraph poles and houses that sit close to the road. All these present a danger to motorists as they try to navigate themselves from A to B. If the B-road is a single track there are usually designated passing places on the road but caution must be taken as you could meet traffic on dangerous bends or in hidden dips. The B-road network presents many dangers so care is needed.

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