While many drivers might criticise modern road layouts and the poor state of the highways, the majority of crashes are still caused by simple bad driving.

This is the conclusion of a report by telematics supplier Masternaut, which analysed more than 192 million kilometres driven over 4.1 million driving hours to identify the biggest risks.

Five top causes of motor accidents

It found the most common cause of accidents to be bad drivers, followed by road type, shift length (in the case of business drivers), sun position and day of the week.

When it comes to the types of bad driving resulting in an accident, harsh braking claimed first place, closely followed by careless taking of corners and speeding.

Interestingly, there was found to be a 13.9 per cent higher rate of harsh braking when the sun was prominent, suggesting some drivers might be struggling with the glare that can occur during autumn and winter.

Meanwhile, more crashes were found to occur at weekends, with the report’s authors saying this may be because motorists take more risks when they feel fewer cars might be on the roads.

In terms of the most dangerous roads, urban highways came out on top due to stop-start traffic and higher levels of vulnerable road users prompting harsher braking.

Chief executive of Masternaut Dhruv Parekh said: “As we head into the darkest time of the year, all drivers need to be conscious of planning their journeys where possible to use the safest roads, and travel for safe lengths of time, at the safest times of the day.”

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “It’s interesting that our safety on the roads once again comes down to how we behave behind the wheel. We would always recommend avoiding harsh braking, reckless cornering and, of course, speeding.”

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