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Most dangerous day to drive – what to do if you’re in an accident

More road accidents happen on 16 January than on any other day of the year

Take care if you’re on the roads today, as 16 January is the most dangerous day of the year to drive. 

UK drivers have an average of 10,075 collisions on this date, equating to 420 collisions an hour or one every 8.57 seconds, according to new analysis from Privilege Car Insurance.

Here, Which? looks at what you can do to stay safe and how to make sure you’re covered.


Most dangerous days for driving

All of the year’s most dangerous driving days fall in the winter, with 5 December, 30 November, 18 January and 13 January making up the rest of the top five.

Detailed analysis of insurance claims reveals that the kind of accident most likely to happen today is a hit to the rear, followed by accidents with single vehicles, and accidents with parked or stationary vehicles.

Ford cars are more likely to face a collision, though this could be because Ford is the most popular automotive brand in the UK.

As for what’s causing these collisions, the most were caused by poor concentration, followed by bad weather, poor visibility, and tiredness.

Data also revealed that one in 10 18-34-year-olds who caused a collision did so by doing their make-up behind the wheel, and another one in ten blamed eating and drinking while driving for their accidents.

Poor concentration was most common among over-55s who caused incidents, while speeding was least common with this group.

Only one in five women involved in accidents were at fault for the crash, compared with a quarter of men. Women also caused fewer accidents while parking.

What to do if you’re in an accident

Car accidents can be fatal and traumatic, so if anyone is injured in a collision, the first thing you should do is call emergency services.

Once the dust has settled, you need to do the following things:

  • Stay at the scene – you may have no choice if your vehicle has broken down, but even if you do you have to stay put for a reasonable time
  • Provide your details – you must give your name, address, and registration number to anyone who can reasonably ask (say, the other party in a collision). If you don’t exchange these details at the scene, you must report the accident to the police as soon as you can within 24 hours.
  • Share insurance details – if the other party asks for them, it’s an offence to withhold them unless you are too injured to reasonably share them.
  • Produce your insurance certificate – you need to do this if anyone was injured in the accident, even if you didn’t directly cause the injury.
  • Tell your insurer about the accident – even if you’re not planning to claim. This must be done within a ‘reasonable time’, usually defined in your car insurance policy.

If you don’t want to claim…

Make it clear in your communications that you’re informing your insurer for ‘information only’. This will stop it from settling with the other party’s insurer without your knowledge and maintain your no-claims bonus.

If you do want to claim…

Read on to find out how to do it.

Claiming on your car insurance

To start, you’ll need the following details from any other drivers involved in the road accident:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle registration
  • Telephone number
  • Insurance details

Make sure you take a note of all of these. Then you can call your insurer and they’ll send you a claim form. Some insurers allow you to make claims online.

Remember that you may have to pay an excess, so low-value claims might be of negligible benefit. Claims for large amounts, however, are generally worth it.

For more details on how to make a claim, whether you should, and what you should expect from the process, see our detailed guide to making a claim on your car insurance.

Which car insurers are best?

Which? surveyed 2,111 members of the general public about their car insurers in January 2019.

Our experts analysed this data to give each insurer a Claims Customer Score.

To find out more about policies from each of these insurers read our car insurance reviews.

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