Scotland international rugby player Stuart Hogg is backing a new campaign from the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland which urges drivers to watch their speed on country roads.
Country roads account for the largest number of fatal accidents on Scotland’s roads (55%). Last year 755 people were killed or seriously injured while driving on country roads.
Loss of control is the biggest cause of deaths on country roads, frequently associated with driving too fast for the conditions and leaving too little time to react to unpredictable road conditions and hazards.
The campaign is running throughout Scotland across multiple channels including TV, cinema and radio. It is particularly targeted at young male drivers aged 22-40 years who have a higher risk of being involved in a crash, and focuses on what they would miss if they weren’t around, using the strapline: “Don’t miss what’s round the corner. Watch your speed on country roads.”
Stuart Hogg, who lost his best friend, Richard Wilkinson, in a crash on a country road in 2009, said: “Losing my best mate Richard will live with me forever and was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. It could have easily been me and I think about him every day and all of the things he’s missed out on.
“I’m supporting the new campaign to encourage people to take extra care on country roads and I hope I’m doing Richard and his family proud.”
Derek Mackay, Scotland’s minister for transport, said: “We are committed to achieving safer road travel in Scotland for everyone and clearly we are heading in the right direction. However we still have a long way to go, particularly with younger male drivers.
“This campaign encourages motorists in Scotland to drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions, particularly on country roads as there is a higher proportion of fatalities in rural areas.”
Superintendent Fraser Candlish of Police Scotland said: “We are urging drivers to take extra care on country roads, as you never know what hazards are waiting round the corner or when something unexpected might happen.
“It’s important to drive according to the road conditions as driving even slightly too fast can turn avoidable incidents into serious and ultimately fatal crashes. We hope this new campaign will contribute to a reduction of deaths on Scotland’s roads.”