Blog: Country roads should lead home, not to hospital

_38386Thomas Price is the NFU's farm safety and transport adviser.

He writes:

Which are safer, motorways or rural roads?

Would it surprise you to know that statistically rural roads are more dangerous to drive on than motorways?  Rural roads carry 40% of all road traffic but they account for 62% of all road fatalities. This means that on average three people die each day on country roads which is almost 10 times higher than on motorways!

Why does this happen? Well when you think about it the reasons are easy to understand.

Rural roads often have a speed limit of 60mph. This speed limit is too often treated as a target rather than a speed to drive at only when safe to do so. Accidents at speed are more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Rural roads are also often narrow, twisting, with dips and blind spots and a poor road surface.

Corners are a hazard that many drivers do not handle well - approaching them too fast. This means they cannot judge the severity of the bend or see unexpected hazards such as oncoming or slow moving vehicles, livestock, horses or pedestrians. Country roads often have no road lighting which makes hazards hard to see.

To help improve the situation this autumn the Department for Transport has launched a new safety campaign Think Country Roads - Brake before the bend, not on it.

Advice to motorists using country roads includes:

  • Slowing down before a bend and not on it
  • Driving at a speed correct for the road conditions – don’t treat the speed limit as a target
  • Being patient behind slow moving traffic – don’t overtake unless it is essential to do so
  • Passing vulnerable road users such as horse riders, cyclists and walkers wide and slow
  • Never taking a country road for granted – conditions can be different every time it is used

Remember, don’t take risks, it is better to take a little more time with your journey and get to your destination safely than have an accident. Let a country road take you home and not to the hospital.

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