New campaign launched to combat ‘deadly’ country roads

The Department for Transport (DfT) has today (22 Oct) launched a new THINK! ‘country roads’ campaign on the back of new figures which reveal that rural roads are the deadliest.

The DfT data shows that across the UK on average three people died on country roads* every day last year. In total, 1,040 people were killed and 9,051 seriously injured on country roads in 2014, with a third (348) of fatalities occurring on a bend.

On country roads in Essex last year, 23 people were killed, 298 seriously injured and 1,523 people suffered slight injuries. By far the largest proportion of these casualties occurred on single carriageway roads – 16 deaths (69% of total), 231 serious injuries and 1,173 slight injuries (both 77% of total).

In spite of this, in a survey of 2,000 drivers conducted for the DfT earlier this month, almost a quarter of respondents admitted to braking too late on bends and two fifths (41%) claimed to have swerved to avoid something in the road.

The problem on country roads is most acute among young drivers, with a third confessing to braking too late before a bend and more than one in 10 admitting to ‘taking the racing line’ by crossing into the opposite side of the road. Young drivers are also the most likely to overtake on a bend without a clear road ahead.

Think-sheepIn response, THINK! has partnered with a farmer to turn potential road hazards into impossible-to-ignore warning signs. ‘Helpful Hazards’ features animals and vehicles sprayed with signs prompting drivers to slow down, anticipate hazards and brake before the bend, not on it.

The campaign also includes a re-run of the ‘If you could see’ video and radio ads which were first launched in October 2014. The video uses 3D scanning technology to allow the viewer to see through objects and spot the danger ahead that the driver can’t see. The video ad has been updated based on feedback from last year’s campaign to better demonstrate the ‘x-ray’ effect.

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, said: “Every injury and death on our roads is a tragedy and that is why the new THINK! country road campaign is so important.

“We want the public to anticipate potential hazards on the road when driving in the countryside, to watch their speed and take care when approaching a bend.”

Footnote*

The DfT defines rural or country roads as “all roads outside of urban settlements with a population of 10,000 plus and with any speed limit, but excluding motorways”.

22 October 2015

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