Three people died on country roads every day last year, according to figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT).
In total, 1,040 people were killed and 9,051 seriously injured on country roads in 2014, with a third (348) of fatalities occurring on a bend.
The problem is most acute among young drivers, with a third confessing to braking too late before a bend and more than one in 10 admitting to ‘taking the racing line’ by crossing into the opposite side of the road to take a turn faster. Young drivers are also the most likely age group to overtake on a bend without a clear road ahead.
In response, THINK! is launching a new country roads campaign. THINK! has partnered with a farmer to turn potential road hazards into impossible-to-ignore warning signs. ‘Helpful hazards’ features animals and vehicles sprayed with helpful signs prompting drivers to slow down, anticipate hazards and brake before the bend, not on it.
Roads 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.”
Commenting on the campaign, Mike Harper, business development director at Stirling Lloyd and chairman of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), said: “An eye-catching campaign like this will hopefully help to get the right messages across. However, these statistics come in the wake of other worrying statistics that show that in 2014 killed and seriously injured (KSI) figures rose on the UK’s roads by 4%. Significantly, this is the first annual rise after decades of great progress in highway safety that resulted in steadily declining casualty rates.
“An increase of 4% is unwelcome news and it’s during a time when RSTA members are seeing the use of high friction surfacing or “anti skid” decline in the UK – its use has reduced from approximately 2.5 million square metres five years ago, to the current level of around one million square metres. Are these two issues linked? Perhaps it’s time to think again about high friction surfacing and restore its place in the armoury of tools and techniques we have to reduce fatal and serious accidents on our roads.”