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EDITIONS
 Friday, 17 January, 2003, 13:23 GMT
Road users face 'fatal Friday' risk
Crash scene
Road users are in a hurry to get home on Fridays
Friday evenings are the most dangerous time to be driving on the roads in Britain, research has shown.

Fatalities and serious injuries peak at more than 250 at 1700 on Fridays, according to the RAC's campaigning arm, the RAC Foundation.

This compares to an average of 180 deaths and serious injuries on weekday evenings at 1700.

The "fatal Friday" syndrome is thought to be associated with drivers switching off after a long week at work.
For the Friday driver, the car in front is often an obstacle to the fabulous weekend

Edmund King, RAC

The RAC Foundation's executive director Edmund King said: "These figures suggest that motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are more at risk on early Friday evenings.

"The fatal Friday phenomenon is probably caused by motorists switching off early, fatigue after a long week and the 'thank God it's Friday' effect.

"The majority of injury accidents happen in urban and residential areas, close to junctions and close to home.

"We are asking all motorists to concentrate on the road ahead rather than the weekend ahead this and every Friday."

Tragic outcome

People are most at risk when they are close to home on roads they know well, the research suggests.

Mr King added: "Mentally, many motorists will be rushing home with too many things on their minds.

"This can lead to increased speeds and lack of hazard perception.

"For the Friday driver, the car in front is often an obstacle to the fabulous weekend. Tragically, many motorists never get there."

Friday road deaths and serious injuries
Crashed car
85 at 0900
256 at 1700
197 at 1800
Average for 2001

Statistics also show the peak time for accidents on Saturdays in the UK is 1600, while on Sundays it is 1500.

The worst time for cyclists is 1700 on Fridays, while for pedestrians it is 1800 on Fridays.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 313,046 casualties on Britain's roads in 2001.

Of these, 3,443 people were killed, 37,094 were seriously injured and 272,509 were slightly hurt.

During 2001, there were 218 children killed in road accidents, with another 4,986 seriously injured.

Last week, the government revealed provisional figures showing road casualties for the 12 months ending June 2002 were 3% down compared with the previous 12 months.

They also showed the number of people killed and seriously injured was 1% down.

This represented a 16% dip in the numbers of deaths and serious injuries compared with an average for 1994 to 1998.

The government has set a target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents by 40% from the 1994-98 average by 2010.

See also:

26 Nov 02 | Scotland
27 Dec 02 | England
25 Dec 02 | England
08 Oct 02 | England
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