One out of ten people killed on the highway in Belgium are pedestrians. More than half (54%) of fatal accidents on highways occur in the surroundings of slip roads. And most fatal accidents (one in three) happen in the dark. The figures come from a recent study by the traffic safety institute Vias.
Vias analyzed 151 fatal accidents on Belgian highways in 2021 and 2022: 10% occurred on slip roads and 44% near them. “Belgium has a dense road network with many entrances and exits,” explains Kishan Vandael Schreurs, spokesman for Vias. “There usually is a lot of traffic in both directions, and road signs on those spots are not always clear.”
More serious accidents
In Belgium, over one-third (38%) of all vehicle kilometers are traveled on highways. The Vias study indicates that the crash risk is lower on highways than on other parts of the road network. However, the seriousness of the accidents is higher.
The most striking finding of the analysis is that 10% of the fatalities on highways in 2021 and 2022 were pedestrians. “Usually, people who broke down or had to change a tire when hit by a car on the shoulder,” Schreurs continues.
“Therefore, it is important to put on a fluorescent jacket in the event of a car breakdown, to place a warning triangle, and to stay behind the crash barriers.” Although the chance of a pedestrian being hit seems small, the risk of death is very high.
In addition to more speed checks, Vias proposes to separate the lanes by a full white line at busy exits. “This way, drivers are forced to change lanes earlier to avoid dangerous situations,” Schreurs says.
Luxembourg highways safest
Vias also analyzed how many fatalities occurred on the highways in each province between 2013 and 2022. The average death toll per province was 56 per 100 kilometers of highway.
Highways in East Flanders are the deadliest (73 deaths per 100 km highway), followed by Flemish Brabant (67 per 100 km), Antwerp (64 per 100 km), and Hainaut (64 per 100 km). Luxembourg (28) and Limburg (39) highways are the safest.