Planning on taking a drive in Derbyshire, Yorkshire or Lancashire? Then take care: these counties offer some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery but are also home to many of Britain’s most dangerous roads.
A 2010 survey compiled by the Road Safety Foundation used figures from 2006 to 2008 and divided Britain’s road network into “significant sections” of various lengths.
The study then divided the number of fatalities and serious collisions on a given section by the number of kilometres driven on it. The result of this calculation was used to identify the most dangerous roads, you won’t find any speed bumps on these roads.
Below is some information about the five most dangerous roads; including the pros and cons of driving on them.
- 1. The A537 Macclesfield to Buxton – Cheshire to Derbyshire
Reasons to use: The highest point of this route is often referred to as the ‘Cat and Fiddle’ in honour of the pub of the same name which is found at the summit and which can proudly claim to be Britain’s second-highest drinking establishment. The A537’s elevated route offers spectacular varied views of the Greater Manchester urban sprawl, the Peak District National Park and the Cheshire Plains.
Reasons to take care: The Cat and Fiddle part of the route is popular with tourists, goods vehicles, motorcyclists and even the odd bit of livestock which strays on to the road. This mixed traffic usage, together with the sharp, blind bends, wild winter weather and rocky walls which line it can make driving there very dangerous.
There were 27 fatal and serious collisions on the A537 during the period 2005 to 2007, compared to 19 between 2002-2004.
- 2. The A5012 Pikehall to Matlock – South Derbyshire
Reasons to use: The small Derbyshire Dales village of Pikehall hosts the annual Y Not Festival; a shindig which was first held in a quarry and now attracts some of the country’s most fashionable young bands. Matlock is a destination favoured by television and film crews; it has featured in TV show ‘Peak Practice’, in the Ken Russell film ‘Women In Love’ and also provided the setting for Shane Meadows’ dark thriller ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’.
Reasons to take care: The A5012 had 14 fatal and serious collisions in 2002-2004 and the same number in 2005-2007. Of these, 21 per cent involved head-on collisions and 14 per cent involved cyclists or pedestrians.
- 3. A621 Baslow to Totley – Derbyshire/South Yorkshire
Reason to use: Baslow is a Derbyshire village which is stated just north of stately Chatsworth House.
Reason to take care: There were 12 fatal and serious collisions on this 9km stretch of road during the years 2005, 2006 and 2007.
- 4. A625 Calver to Sheffield – South Yorkshire
Reasons to use: Journey on the A625 in the Peak District and you will be greeted by the icy beauty of Mam Tor, aka ‘The Shivering Mountain’.
Reason to take care: It’s a chilling thought to think that large landslides in 1974 and 1977 damaged sections of the old route of the A625. The route has now been changed but the A625 still made the Road Safety Foundation’s top ten.
- 5. A54 Congleton to Buxton
Reasons to use: Congleton is home to ‘The Clouds’: a dramatic outcrop of rocks which overlook the Cheshire Plain. Buxton is the source of the water you find in bottles of Buxton Spring Water.
Reasons to take care: There were 20 fatal and serious injury accidents on this 24km-stretch of motorway between 2005 to 2007, 26 per cent of which were accidents at junctions.
Road users using the roads mentioned on this list can all take heart from the example set by road safety measures introduced on the A40 between Llandovery and Carmarthen. This road was named as the most improved road in the 2010 poll with a dramatic reduction in the accident rate coinciding with initiatives such as improved junctions, clearing markings and resurfacing.
Let’s hope that transport officials will find room in their budgets to invest in safety measures so that the outlook for driving on the northern roads mentioned in this article becomes as beautiful as the scenery to be found there.