60% of fatalities occur on country roads, warns latest DfT THINK! campaign
The DfT’s research on country roads finds that a shocking 25% of drivers report having had a near miss on a country road, while 40% have been surprised by an unexpected hazard, such as an animal. A third also confess to taking a bend too fast.
The research mirrors newly published casualty statistics, which show that the most commonly reported contributory factor to being killed or seriously injured on country roads is motorists losing control, often because they are driving too fast for the conditions.
The new THINK! campaign urges drivers using country roads to:
- Read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards
- Drive at a speed that allows you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear
- Stay in control and give yourself time to react by braking before a bend, not on it
- Give cyclists and horse riders plenty of space when overtaking
Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, but most people don’t know that motorists are nearly 11 times more likely to die in an accident on a country road than on a motorway. On average 3 people die each day on country roads and these are needless tragedies.
‘I want the public to understand these risks and adapt their driving to the conditions they face. That is why the new THINK! country road campaign is so important – we are urging drivers to read the road ahead, select a safe speed and brake before the bend.’
The AA welcomed the campaign, with Edmund King, AA president, commenting: ‘Many drivers, particularly young drivers, are under the miscomprehension that motorways are more dangerous than rural roads.
‘Rural roads present drivers with additional, specific challenges and they must adapt their driving to ensure they cope with these safely.
‘This time of year presents further challenges as the light begins to go and there are wet surfaces and more deer on country roads. Being aware of the additional dangers can help drivers make better decisions about their driving and ensure they get home safely.
‘There are some great country roads in the UK but if the drivers want the country roads to take them home, they should drive safely.’