detailed investigations by the road research laboratory into how road accidents occur were resumed with an on-the-spot study over a period of seven months in 1968-9. methods of investigation were developed during this study with these objectives: (1) to increase the laboratory's understanding of road accidents, (2) to provide data to estimate the relative importances of various road safety research projects, (3) to suggest further research and statistical surveys, (4) to suggest remedial measures. a total of 247 accidents was investigated. the method included judgement by the team as to the factors contributing to the accidents. it was found that vehicle factors and road factors each occurred in one quarter of the accidents, and that road user factors occurred in three quarters. braking and tyre defects were sufficiently common to suggest that these factors should be studied further. loss of control occurred in 40% of the accidents. the features of some of the main accident black spots were studied and remedial measures have been suggested. the results reinforce the need for the research into the conspicuity of vehicles to pedestrians, the optimum placing of warning signs on the approach to hazards, and the potentially dangerous movements of pedestrians (a).

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