Today is D-day for drivers (that's extra dangerous) thanks to hangovers, bad weather and Christmas shopping
Crashes set to double on 'most dangerous day of the year'
Bumps and smashes double in the week leading up to Christmas
01:54 GMT, 17 December 2012
Motorists heading out today be warned – it is the most dangerous day of the year on the roads.
On average the number of crashes will double but in the worst areas they are expected to increase nearly four-fold, a new report says.
Data from the last four years shows that the worst accident hotspots include Brighton, Birmingham, London and Glasgow.
Take care: Today is the most dangerous day of the year for British motorists, according to an insurance provider
The report, by Co-operative Insurance says: ‘December 17 is the worst day of year for car crashes.
'Bumps and smashes double in the week before Christmas. And Ford Focus drivers will be in more crashes than any other road user.’
The analysis of more than 200,000 claims shows they have increased by an average of 205% – or double – compared to a typical day of the year on 17 December in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
The data also shows that more accidents occur in the week before Christmas than any other week of the year – with claims up by 53% overall as the last-minute shopping and the Christmas getaway begins.
It also highlights the UK’s accident ‘hotspots’, with nearly four times (3.7) as many crashes likely to take place in Glasgow on 17 December than the average UK town or city.
It is followed closely by Birmingham (3.6), Uxbridge (3 times more than average), Ipswich (3), South East London (2.6), North London (2.5) and Brighton, which is twice as likely. They are followed in the danger top 10 by East London (2.3), Guildford (2.3) and Redhill, Surrey (2.1).
Hurry: The 'Christmas rush' is believed one of the reasons behind the holiday spike in accidents. File picture
In Scotland after top-placed Glasgow where there a four-fold increase in accidents is expected, comes Motherwell (1.9 times the norm), Edinburgh (1.8 times) and Paisley (1.5 times).
Grant Mitchell, head of motor insurance at The Co-operative, said: ‘Our data shows that people are more likely to be involved a car accident in the run up to Christmas than any other time of the year.
‘We believe this is down to a combination of the ‘pre-Christmas rush’ when everyone is going to the supermarket or to buy last minute gifts along with the fact that people also feel tired and sluggish from the Christmas party season, which makes it harder to concentrate on the road.‘
He added: ’Of course, when these factors are combined with busy roads, bad weather and the fact that the days are at their shortest, accidents can and do happen.’
Smashes: Insurance claims rise an average of 205 per cent on this day every year
The report says Ford Focus drivers are most commonly involved in car crashes on 17 December, followed by Vauxhall Astras and Vauxhall Corsas.
Mr Mitchell said: ‘We all have a lot on our minds in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s vital we don’t sacrifice the safety of ourselves, our families and other people as a result.
'Staying safe over the holidays is the most important thing, and by making a commitment to driving responsibly we can help prevent devastating tragedies on roads this Christmas.'