Highways England has launched a new campaign urging drivers to slow down when it’s raining, on the back of data showing that road users are 30 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in rain than in snow.
The campaign, ‘when it rains, it kills’, says that even driving within the speed limit in wet weather can be dangerous if drivers don’t allow extra space between them and the vehicle in front.
The message is being reinforced with rain-activated paint messages visible to people leaving motorway services when it is raining.
The campaign also includes a new video (above) which shows rain falling inside the home of a family imagined to have been involved in a serious road collision, along with a radio ad and posters which can be downloaded and displayed by stakeholders to support the message.
Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “Most of us already slow down in snow, ice or fog but when it rains we consider it normal so don’t adapt our driving.
“The sad fact is that 2,918 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads when it was raining last year, and not slowing down to suit the current conditions was identified as a factor in one in nine of all road deaths.
“Rain makes it harder for tyres to grip the road and harder for drivers to see ahead – significantly increasing the chances of being involved in a collision. We’ve launched our new campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers and to stay safe.”
Highways England says it generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as on a dry road because tyres have less grip.
Advice for drivers includes: slowing down if rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen; keeping well back from the vehicle in front; and slowing down gradually if the steering becomes unresponsive as it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road.
The campaign is the latest initiative by Highways England in its bid to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on England’s motorways and major A roads by 40% by 2020.