Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! So implored poet John Betjeman, no great fan of the Berkshire town with the ambiguously spelled name, which rhymes with plough, not tough, or though, or through, or for that matter with (Frank) Bough.
Struggling for other selling points, the town latterly made infamous as the setting for TV’s The Office has promoted itself for the past half century as a “Safety Town.” These days even this limp boast lies in tatters.
This year Slough was again confirmed – for the third consecutive year – as the UK’s number one urban accident spot.
Slough’s rate of motor accident claims per insured driver was 41.3% above the national average during 2009 according to an annual index compiled by insurer Endsleigh.
Belfast is the safest place to drive in the UK. Scottish towns are statistically safer than Welsh, which are safer in turn than English conurbations.
If you want to drive somewhere safe in England your best bets are Norwich, Ipswich, Cambridge and Cheltenham. B towns like Bradford and Birmingham (second and third worst respectively) are generally best avoided.
“Clearly there are some parts of the UK which are safer than others,” concluded Endsleigh spokesman Stuart Wartalski, “when it comes to the frequency of accidents on the road.”