Rural roads are the deadliest in the country with an average of three people dying on them every day last year, according to government figures released today.
In total, 1,040 people were killed and 9,051 seriously injured on country roads in 2014. The number of people killed on country roads is nearly 10 times higher than on motorways.
Around a third (348) of these fatalities occurred on a bend, prompting a major new THNIK! safety campaign from government to increase awareness of the danger.
The Department for Transport (DfT) highlighted that in a survey of road users almost a quarter admitted to braking ‘too late on bends’ and two fifths (41%) claimed to have ‘swerved to avoid something in the road’.
Among young drivers the figures make even worse reading, with a third confessing to braking too late on bends and more than one in 10 admitting to ‘taking the racing line’ – crossing into the opposite side of the road to take the turn faster.
On top of this, young drivers are also the most likely to overtake on a bend without a clear road ahead.
Road safety minister, Andrew Jones, said: ‘Every injury and death on our roads is a tragedy and that is why the new THINK! country roads campaign is so important. We want the public to anticipate potential hazards on the road when driving in the countryside, to watch their speed and take care when approaching a bend.’
Celebrities have backed the campaign including British Touring Car champion, James Cole, who slammed drivers for taking the racing line on bends, saying ‘it’s one thing to do that in a racetrack environment but quite another to do it with no knowledge of what is around the corner’.
‘Take more care, anticipate hazards, stay in control and give yourself more time to react by braking before the bend, not on it,’ he warned.