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Country roads are more dangerous

30 March 2005

Two thirds of UK road fatalities occur on rural roads, a recent survey warns.

Research by the RAC Foundation found that nearly a third of younger drivers (aged 17-28) believe quieter country roads are safer than urban roads. However, in 2003 over 16,000 people were killed or seriously injured on rural roads.

One in 10 younger or inexperienced drivers believe that breaking the speed limit is more acceptable on rural roads because they are quieter.

Sarah Forrow, campaigns manager for the RAC Foundation, said: ‘There is a common misconception that driving on rural roads is safer than on urban roads as there is less traffic around. However, with almost two thirds of fatalities on rural roads, it is time for motorists to drive with more care in the countryside.’

  • The RAC’s top tips for safer driving on rural roads are:

    Look out for clues that you are approaching a village, for example footpaths, or church spires in the distance. Be ready to slow down.

    Don’t think it is safe to break the speed limit on rural roads just because there is less traffic.
    There could be unforeseen hazards such as horses, cyclists or walkers at blind bends in the road that could lead to crashes.

    Drive at a safe speed in order to anticipate events. Bear in mind that this may involve driving at lower than the speed limit.

    Expect to meet tractors and farm machinery, which may require you to take the initiative and pull into a recognised passing bay to allow the larger vehicle to pass.

    Slow down and leave a wide gap while passing animals, especially horses, which may be frightened by speeding vehicles, or drivers hooting at them. Be prepared for herds of cows crossing roads for milking in the mornings and evenings.

    Take special care when driving at night on rural roads, as rain and other hazards are often contributory factors in rural crashes. Also other driver’s headlights could temporarily blind you.

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