GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers, riders, cyclists and pedestrians to take extra care on rural roads. This is because nearly six out of every 10 fatalities in the UK occur on this type of road.
In 2015 (the most recent year available for statistics), 10,307 people were killed or seriously injured in collisions on rural roads in Great Britain, according to the Department for Transport.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “On average, three people die every day on rural roads. What’s more, the rural road death toll is 10 times higher than on motorways. This is worrying but not surprising, given the variation in road types, terrain and visibility, and the variety of different road users sharing the same space.
“Crashes occur frequently because motorists meet ‘unexpected’ hazards such as sharp bends, animals or oncoming traffic. If they’re already driving at an inappropriate speed, then they simply won’t have the time and space they need to stop safely. In these circumstances, a serious collision would b inevitable.
“The key message is to slow down. Vast stretches of the rural road network are subject to the national speed limit, which for cars and motorbikes is 60mph. But that’s not a target, and it’s often reckless to drive on a rural road at anywhere near that speed.”
GEM has compiled a five-point guide for safety on rural roads:
- Slow down. Always drive at a speed that allows you to stop on your side of the road within the distance you can see to be clear ahead.
- Take nothing for granted. However familiar you may be with a stretch of rural road, always expect the unexpected as you negotiate a bend or hill brow. Be ready to slow right down, or stop if you have to.
- Look out for animals, and give them plenty of space. Be ready to pull over and switch off your engine, to prevent alarming a nervous horse or farm animal.
- If overtaking, leave nothing to chance. Don’t start your manoeuvre until you know exactly how you will end it.
- Take in and use the information that’s there for you. Signs and road paint indicate hazards ahead. Mud on the road might mean slow-moving tractors. Horse manure, especially if it’s fresh, suggests horses ahead.