This represents 20% of the annual total of all fatal or serious collisions that year. Of these 3,858, 120 were on motorways, 2070 were on urban roads and 1668 on rural roads.
Your vehicle choice
Your choice of vehicle can make a huge difference to how well protected you, your family and other passengers are, as well as other road users around you.
If your own car isn’t a good fit for the journey you have planned, renting might be a good option — don’t be shy about asking about the vehicle safety ratings. Euro NCAP is a reliable source of information too.
Do you even need to drive for this trip, what other options are there? Around two-thirds of all UK journeys are made by car, many of which could be made on foot or bike, or by public transport. While each trip may not seem like much, it all adds up to a lot of unnecessary car use.
By making healthy travel choices, we can all help to improve road safety and public health, and reduce environmental and economic costs to society from our over-reliance on cars. Fewer cars on the road means fewer road deaths and injuries, less congestion, less emissions and more pleasant, sociable communities!
Getting ready to travel on the road
Sometimes weather conditions can mean the road just isn't safe to travel on and so it's important that you know how to make the right decision and how to react if conditions change when you're on the road.
Summer weather in the UK can be unpredictable at best — from heatwaves to flash flooding — build in some flexibility to travel at a different time of day and follow our A, B, C of safe travel
- Avoid driving
- Be prepared
- Careful and cautious driving
Bright sunlight can be your enemy when driving. Follow these tips to prevent yourself from being dazzled by the sun:
- keep a pair of sunglasses in the vehicle all year round (prescription if needed) and keep your windscreen clean
- wear your sunglasses in bright sunshine, especially if the sun is low or reflecting off a wet road
What should be in your Summer Car Emergency Kit?
- Enough water for everyone travelling
- Nuts/fruit — any snacks that won’t melt!
- First aid kit
- Portable phone charger
- Reflective hazard sign
- Blanket - for warmth or providing shade
How to do a quick “walk-round” FLOWER check of your car:
Fuel - enough for your journey, or fully charged if electric (check where charging points are on your route too)
Lights - headlights, brake lights, indicators
Oil - check your oil levels when the engine is cold
Water - lubricants, coolants, screen washer fluid
Electrics - ensure your battery is in tip top shape
Rubber - tyre pressure, uneven wear, sidewall damage, tread
When driving long distances on motorways, always take regular breaks - tiredness is a killer. Be aware of that feeling and the signs — stop, rest, and don’t drive again until fit to do so.
To keep yourself and others safe, never drink any alcohol or take any illegal drugs before driving: not a drop, not a drag. Even very small amounts of alcohol or drugs affect your driving and could cause a devastating crash.
The morning after … Make sure you've completely got rid of any alcohol or drugs from your system before driving. Many drink and drug drivers are caught the next day. Drinking coffee, sleeping, or having a shower won’t help you sober up — only time makes the difference.
How to be a responsible road user
Before setting off, make it a habit to check that everyone in your vehicle is belted up. Seat belt use is lower among back seat passengers. An unrestrained back seat passenger is a danger to other people in the vehicle as well as themselves.
If you’re not familiar with using child car seats, watch this short video to ensure it’s correctly fitted and secure.
If you’re on holiday, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be driving on unfamiliar roads, so it’s always worth checking limits for your route and if unsure, err on the side of caution and slow down. Additionally, it will help you stay safe and avoid fines and penalty points — not the holiday memories that you want.
Rural roads are often bendy and narrow with poor visibility and hidden junctions. Even if you know the road well, you never know what’s round the corner. The majority of driver and passenger deaths happen on rural roads, often due to drivers taking bends too fast, overtaking, or not being able to react to unexpected hazards. Slow down, enjoy the scenery — be mindful of walkers, cyclists or horse riders that might also be sharing the road with you.
Minimise distractions when driving by setting up your device or phone SAT nav before setting off so you’re not tempted to fiddle with it while driving.
Remember, since the new changes to The Highway Code in January 2022 came into effect, it’s illegal to hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data, while driving — even while stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
Even if you take all precautions, your vehicle may breakdown or you may be involved in a crash. Knowing the right thing to do, in the event of such situations, can help keep you and your family safe.
Follow our guidance on the Brake Roadmap for advice on what to do if you breakdown; are involved in or witness a crash.
Mary Williams, Chief Executive of Brake: "As we all relax into summer, it is important to remain attentive at the wheel and remember that even if we are on holiday, our most important job is to protect the lives of our loved ones in our vehicles, and other road users, particularly people on bicycles, walking and moving in other active ways, in our towns, cities and on rural roads.".
As a charity, we rely on funding and donations to run our projects, campaigns and victim support service. Every donation will make a difference and help us achieve our vision of a world with zero road deaths.
You can support our work by making a donation — one off, or monthly.