More than half (60%) of fatalities occur on country roads but drivers are oblivious to the risks, according to Think! which is launching a new campaign to raise awareness among drivers.
On average, three people die each day on rural roads - nearly 11 times higher than on motorways. A quarter of drivers have had a near miss and one driver in 20 has had a collision on a country road, and
New research shows many more drivers are needlessly putting themselves at risk of an accident.
A quarter 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.
These findings suggest many drivers are failing to anticipate dangers on the road ahead. 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; "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 Think! campaign has been backed by British Touring Car champion James Cole. He said: "As a young racing driver, I learnt a number of key skills, such as looking ahead and judging the road conditions. These skills are equally important for everyday driving in Britain.
"Being a responsible driver, I try to anticipate hidden hazards and brake before the bend, and this is critical on country roads - you just don’t know what’s around the next corner."
The new Think! advertising campaign uses 3D scanning technology to illustrate that country roads are full of unforeseen hazards. This technique allows viewers to ‘see’ through the bends on a country road and spot the unexpected dangers ahead.
The message for drivers is that, in the real world, you can’t see the perils that may lie behind a bend so it’s always best to slow down and give yourself time to react.