UK roads busier than pre-Covid levels

Traffic levels are exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to new data, with a shift in the most common type of collisions.

AX has found that Britain’s roads during the first lockdown was equivalent to 1960s levels, with the average daily mileage of vehicles equipped with its telematics devices falling 67% in April 2020, compared to the February before lockdown started.

The lockdown this January also had a notable impact on traffic levels, with a 40% decrease in average daily mileage.

However, with travel now allowed anywhere within the UK, road traffic volumes appear to have returned to normality, with levels in June so far actually exceeding February 2020 by 1.5%. In fact, data from the Department for Transport shows traffic on some weekends has reached as much as 113% of pre-Covid levels since late May.

AX also saw a dramatic shift in the two most common types of accidents it has managed throughout the pandemic. While fewer rear end collisions were managed, proportionally more claims involved being ‘hit whilst parked’, likely due to a significant increase in the amount of time vehicles have spent parked up since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

Vince Powell, managing director of AX Innovation said: “By looking at our extensive telematics data, we’ve been able to see just how drastic the impacts of the various UK lockdowns have been over the last 15 months.

“What’s interesting to see is how the impact of each lockdown has differed and the various rates at which things have returned to relative normality as restrictions are eased. The first lockdown in April 2020 had by far the biggest impact on road transport, even when compared to January of this year when Covid had hit the UK hardest.

“And with more vehicles spending more time parked up during lockdowns, we’ve also noticed a striking shift in the two most common types of accident we manage, with parked vehicles being hit now dominating over rear end collisions.”