A new THINK! campaign launched last week (9 Oct) warns drivers of the dangers of country roads, using the strapline, ‘brake before the bend, not on it’.
The campaign says that 60% of people killed on Britain’s roads die on rural roads, and a survey commissioned as part of the campaign suggests that many more drivers are needlessly putting themselves at risk of a collision.
Rural roads are defined as “all roads outside of urban settlements with a population of 10,000 plus and with any speed limit, but excluding motorways”.
In the THINK! survey, a “shocking” 25% of drivers reported having a near miss on a country road, while 40% had been “surprised by an unexpected hazard”, such as an animal. A third of respondents also confessed to taking a bend too fast.
The THINK! team says these findings suggest many drivers are failing to anticipate dangers on the road ahead.
The research mirrors DfT casualty statistics for 2013 which show that the most commonly reported contributory factor to being killed or seriously injured on a country road is the driver losing control, often because they are driving too fast for the conditions.
The film uses 3D scanning technology to illustrate that country roads are full of unforeseen hazards. This innovative visual 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.
The campaign also includes three case studies. The first features a couple who lost their 17-year-old son on a country road, the second a horse-rider who suffered serious injuries and whose horse had to be put down because of its injuries, and the third a driver who almost died when he crashed on a bend.
Robert Goodwill, road safety minister, 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 three 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 campaign is backed by James Cole, British Touring Car champion, who 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.”
FOOTNOTE: a full campaign briefing pack for road safety officers is available in the members’ area of this website.