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Car accident rates climb sharply after decline in lockdown

​Car accident rates in the UK are rapidly rising as lockdown eases and drivers hit the roads again.

AX studied thousands of non-fault incidents, revealing a 72% rise in accidents in May compared to April

According to new analysis by accident aftercare and vehicle management technologies specialist AX, there was an 81% drop in accident rates in the first two weeks of April – right at the start of lockdown – compared to first two weeks of March prior to restrictions being imposed.

But, accidents rose by 72% in May compared to April, a considerable increase even before lockdown was significantly eased following the Prime Minister’s speech on 10 May.

As well as showing the effects of easing restrictions, the work by AX also reveals that the type of accidents UK motorists were involved in also changed, with four in 10 non-fault collisions in April due to hitting parked cars – the first time this type of accident has represented over 40% of all collisions recorded.

Conversely, lower congestion meant rear-end collisions were no longer most common accident, representing just 13% of prangs, which is the lowest percentage seen by AX.

Interestingly, there was a 55.2% increase in accidents immediately following the Prime Minister’s statement on 10 May.

Scott Hamilton-Cooper, sales and operations director at AX, said: “Our analysis reveals some intriguing and useful insight into the nature of road use and driving during this extraordinary time. While we expected accidents to fall significantly, the circumstances and types of incident changed markedly.

“Car parking accidents are always going to feature prominently, but they typically represent less than a third of all accidents, whereas during lockdown they were the most common. In normal circumstances, rear-end collisions are the most frequent accident scenario – it is easy to bump into the car in front while in traffic, not so in lockdown it appears. But with fewer trips and less practice, it seems parking has become a challenge for many drivers.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.