Unless you’re a person who’s serious about their towing, you’ve probably not heard of Witter Towbars. In fact, if would be surprising if you’ve heard of them at all, as they’re a towbar fitting company, based on the Welsh border, near the city of Chester.
Why are we mentioning them? Because they’ve just done the Irish car buyer something of a small service, by identifying the areas and cities in the UK where you’re most likely to have a crash.
In the UK, there were 129,986 recorded road traffic accidents last year, and thankfully of those, a record low 1,827 involved a fatality. They all, every single one of them, involved a damaged car though, and that is where our interest comes in. We’ll come to the Irish factor in a moment, but for now, let’s have a plough through the stats uncovered by the good folks at Witter.
Who crashes most?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of accidents involved the male of the species. More than twice the number of incidents, 87,407 in total, involved a man, with just 38,757 involving women. What was that about women drivers, again? Witter’s researchers commented that “whether this huge disparity in the figures is down to more men taking up occupations involving cars (taxi drivers, truck drivers, delivery drivers etc.) or that men are genuinely inferior drivers is clearly up for debate….”
Young drivers at fault?
In terms of accidents grouped by the age of the people involved, the waters were a little more muddy. You’d expect young drivers to do worse, and older drivers to do better, but that’s just not the case. In fact, the number of incidents involving those aged 21 to 25 (14,486) and those aged 55 to 65 (12,481) are so close as to be statistically irrelevant. The 26 to 35 and 46 to 55 age groups were also very closely matched. Overall though, those under 35 years old were still much more likely to be in a crash than those over.
Where crashes occurred
Now, though, we get to the interesting bit. Where road accidents occurred. You’d assume that the most would be in London, given the density of population, and in terms of outright numbers you’d be right. But when you account for population levels, and break down the accidents per head of population, you get a very different figure. In fact, the most likely location for you to have a shunt in the UK is in… Brighton, where one in every 200 people has had an accident in 2016. Next up is Nottingham, with one in 336, then Newcastle Upon Tyne, with one in 348, Birmingham with one in 371, Southampton with one in 399, Liverpool with one in 410, and Derby with one in 427. London, taken as a whole region rather than a city, comes third overall with one in 343. “Interestingly, the safest city in our analysis was Manchester. Drivers in the Northern city experience 1 incident for every 3527 drivers.” said the Witter analysts.
The accidental car brands
Witter also analysed which vehicle brands are most often involved in a crash. They noted that Honda (one in 146), Volvo (one in 156), Suzuki (one in 164), Mercedes-Benz (one in 172), and Mitsubishi (one in 197), were the brands most likely to be involved in a collision.
Does this matter to the Irish driver?
Why should any of this matter to you? Because you, and I mean Irish car buyers in general, are importing more and more cars from the UK. More than ever before, in fact, 38,896 used cars have been imported from the UK so far this year, a 42 per cent increase on last year. And, as we’re frequently duty-bound to remind you, UK cars being brought in have a higher chance of having damage done to them, and hidden, than locally-bought cars. It’s the danger of shopping in a larger market — there is more opportunity for things to be hidden. At least one in ten cars being imported from the UK has been written-off, and while the majority are Category C-or-D write-offs, which will have been written off for relatively light damage, there is still an effect on value, never mind safety and quality.
Do your research
The Witter Towbars survey is just a bit of fun, in many respects, and a chance for one region to point and laugh at another, but it, like any set of data, is another piece of ammunition for the clever car buyers. Every little bit helps when you’re buying a used car, especially if you’re thinking of importing one, and so if you’re thinking of buying a used Honda, from a buyer under the age of 35, living in Brighton, perhaps that should be raising one or two warning signs for you.
Of course, we’d always advise you to use our services when checking out the background history of any car you’re buying, and we can uncover more than just whether a car has been previously crashed or not. But every single bit of information helps you, including road accidents, to make a more informed purchase, so as well as a Motorcheck history check, maybe break out a UK road atlas before you commit to buying, eh?