Almost 4,600 miles of British roads have no mobile phone coverage, leaving drivers at risk of being stranded without help in the event of an accident, the RAC Foundation revealed today.
This equates to roughly 2% of Britain’s road network or the entire motorway network, running across 49 separate local authority areas, that is without the necessary coverage to make phone calls or send text messages.
Local authority areas with the most miles of road without any mobile signal coverage are:
- 1) Highland (452 miles of road with no coverage)
- 2) Powys (437 miles)
- 3) Argyll & Bute (293 miles)
- 4) Cumbria (252 miles)
- 5) Devon (243 miles)
- 6) Dumfries & Galloway (237 miles)
- 7) North Yorkshire (231 miles)
- 8) Scottish Borders (226 miles)
- 9) Gwynedd (172 miles)
- 10) Ceredigion (156 miles)
Finding help without a map could be difficult in many areas too, as the RAC Foundation’s research also found there are 14,554 miles of road (6%) where there is a complete absence of 3G coverage – needed for smart phones.
An additional 111,679 miles of road (45%) have only partial 3G coverage, and on 4G signals more than half (56%) of the road network has no coverage and 27% has only partial coverage.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Our work shows there are thousands of miles of road along which you would not want to break down or have an accident because calling the RAC, the emergency services or even home wouldn’t be an option. Even where there is partial network coverage it might not be from your network provider.
‘And it’s not just in emergencies that we rely on our mobiles. Increasingly we drivers depend on our smart phones for everything from telling us how to get from A to B, to what the weather is going be, to where the congestion is.
‘Yet both 3G and 4G coverage is still patchy in many areas and the chance of downloading data when we need it can often be slim.
‘The concepts of connected cars and drivers is at the heart of much thinking about how we might make our travelling lives easier. But the best ideas in the world will fall at the first hurdle if there are no bars on the phone.’
The RAC Foundation based its analysis on official Ofcom data. According to Ofcom, 93% of UK adults own or use a mobile phone, while 66% of UK adults have a smartphone.
If there is no network coverage from any of Vodafone, O2, EE or Three then not even an emergency call can be made.