'Failing to look' biggest cause of crashesFigures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that ‘failing to look’ was a factor in to a massive 62,000 casualties on UK roads in 2013.

Alarmingly, that includes 408 deaths that might have been prevented if a driver had simply looked properly before making a manoeuvre.

The second biggest caused of accidents was drivers failing to judge another’s path or speed – contributing to more than 34,000 casualties, including 217 deaths.

Road casualties falling – but not fast enough

The good news is that casualties on UK roads are reducing – with 1,713 people killed in 2013, 2% fewer than 2012. In total, there were 183,670 casualties on British roads in 2013, down 6% on 2012.

But progress is too slow, claims road safety charity Brake.

Deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend said: “Since 2010, progress has stalled dramatically. At this rate, it will be many more decades before we reach the only acceptable number of casualties on our roads, and that number is zero.

“The government needs to take far more proactive action to drive casualties down faster, including a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, a 20mph default urban speed limit, and graduated driver licensing to tackle young driver crashes.”

The figures show that exceeding the speed limit contributed to 249 road deaths, while travelling too fast for the conditions was a factor in 209.

Tyres responsible nearly 1,000 casualites

Meanwhile, illegal or under-inflated tyres were the vehicle defect responsible for the most deaths (18) – and 968 casualties.

This has led to tyre safety organisation TyreSafe urging motorists to check their tyres ahead of October’s Tyre Safety Month.

TyreSafe’s chairman, Stuart Jackson said: “The latest figures are very worrying and sadly reflect a general attitude of indifference by many drivers towards checking their tyres regularly.

“As the only part of your car in contact with the road, it’s vital that your tyres are looked after correctly and inspected regularly to ensure they will work properly in emergency situations when they are needed most.”

During Tyre Safety Month many garages will be offering free tyre safety checks, while motorists are also being encouraged to check their own tyres using a 20p coin.

Insert a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyres and, if the outer band of coin is obscured, it’s above the legal 1.6mm tread death.