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UK road traffic returns to normality

  Traffic on Britain’s roads during the first lockdown was thought to be equivalent to 1960s levels, according to new data from AX. 

The average daily mileage of vehicles equipped with AX’s telematics devices fell 67% in April 2020, compared to the February before lockdown started.  

When compared to the combined annual mileage covered by all vehicles in Great Britain, the significant decrease represents traffic levels last seen in Britain in the late 1960s. 

The lockdown this January also had a notable impact on traffic levels, with a 40% decrease in average daily mileage, meaning traffic was likely comparable to that last experienced in the late 1980s.   

Following the easing of most social distancing restrictions over the last few months, and 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%. 

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, which also provides accident aftercare services to non-fault drivers, additionally 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. 

During the first lockdown, rear end collisions accounted for just 14 per cent of collisions (compared to nearly a third in the previous February), while ‘hit whilst parked’ collisions rocketed from a quarter of managed collisions to 44 per cent.  

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.” 

AX’s Innovation products combine intelligent software with in-car devices to improve the safety of vehicles and protect against vehicle crime.