Rugby star supports new Scottish country roads campaign

12.00 | 8 October 2015 | | 6 comments

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.”


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    Excellent points Hugh! Apologies to all that I said advertisement when indeed I meant press release.

    Matt is perfectly correct in saying what the advert is designed to do yet it completely fails to achieve that aim. Given the same budget my film would be somewhat different and a great deal more effective. First thing would be to edit out everything after 39 seconds as that’s all entirely counter-productive and detracts from the core message. My advert would start with the view from the drivers seat as the car approached the corner. The shot would change to the speedo showing 50 and then change back to the car succesfully negotiating the bend. Throughout this shot the word Monday would appear at the bottom of the screen. The clip would then be repeated only this time the word Tuesday would be at the bottom. Repeat again with Wednesday then Thursday so that the scene is set for Friday when everything is the same except for the red car suddenly coming into view. I would add a nice big truck coming the other way and show the truck-front rapidly filling the windscreen and then cut to black. Pick any message you like as the pay-off as the entire film now makes perfect sense.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the video mentions the words “appropriate speed” at all? It is only referenced in the quote from Scotland’s minister for transport.

    The advert is specifically prompting drivers to anticipate hazards that may be around the bend and to adjust their approach speed so they have the capacity to stop if necessary. If that doesn’t fall into the realms of “no surprise – no accident” can you please explain what does?

    Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire
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    Further thought – as driverless cars are a current topic, I wonder what approach speed ‘it’ would decide was appropriate in the scenario depicted in the ad? i.e. would it have been able to stop comfortably and without frightening the life out of its occupants?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    The average speed of the traffic for the prevailing circumstances would seem to be a good indication of the appropriate speed i.e. the speed most believe allows reasonable progress with a safety margin. In my experience, inappropriate speed would be anything say 20% and above the average (as a rough guide) – for the same cicumstances obviously.
    I suppose if a driver was not able to stop in time – where the majority would have done in the same circumstances – you could say he/she were not driving at an appropriate speed. In the ad above, a driver faced with the stationary car around the bend and being able to stop conmfortably was driving at an appropriate speed whereas the driver who couldn’t stop, wasn’t.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I think that most people recognise that speed is not the root cause of most “incidents”. But it is speed that dictates the time within which incident is piled on top of incident that eventually results in a crash whose severity will be dependent upon speed as well.

    With human reaction times, braking systems, steering systems, road/wheel interfaces and so many other aspects of the initial incident to crash transition being dependent upon speed then an “appropriate speed” is one which allows each of those systems to work within parameters of time and distance that allow any crash or adverse consequence to be avoided.

    On the roads we may not be able to eliminate surprises, but we should never use that as an excuse for not ensuring that surprises do not turn into crashes.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    ‘Appropriate speed’ is referenced quite a lot in this advertisement yet there does seem to be a huge amount of confusion as to what the term actually means. Coincidently, this comment popped up onto one of the other road safety forums that I subscribe to after I had asked for a complete and accurate definition of what an appropriate speed actually is.

    “Appropriate Speed” is a phrase used by folks to make a judgement in hindsight regarding where to lay blame. If there was an incident then ‘of course’ the driver was not traveling at an “appropriate speed”, if there was no incident the *obviously* the driver was traveling at an “appropriate speed”. Logical? No… Backwards logic? Yes.

    The idea of “appropriate speed” is a figment of the public imagination. It is ‘putting the cart in front of the horse’, it is a magic trick used to slay dragons (any more metaphor suggestions?).

    “Appropriate speed” has been the buzz word for decades and has brought us no closer to reducing incidents. In fact the faster we pursue the ideal of “appropriate speed” the more incidents occur. This misguided mirage conceals the true factors in most incidents and simply provides a quick judgement and blame; not solutions nor understanding of the factors which are at the root of incidents.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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