Road Safety Minister, Andrew Jones has 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." Figures from the Department for Transport reveal 1,040 deaths on country roads in 2014, a third of which occurring on a bend. It is much harder to anticipate hazards on a country lane, with blind bends and overgrown verges often obstructing your view. Entering a bend at speed gives you little time to react to unexpected road conditions or obstacles. The advice from Think to all drivers is to:
- Read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards. Look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances.
- Country roads often have sharp bends. To stay in control and give yourself time to react to unexpected hazards, brake before the bend, not in it.
- Overgrown verges, bushes and trees on country roads can block your view and potentially obscure an oncoming hazard. Always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear (double that on a single track road). Allow more time to stop on wet or slippy surfaces.
- The speed limit is a limit not a target. The national speed limit on single carriage roads is 60mph, but there will be times you need to drive under that in order to drive correctly for the conditions. In fact most people do on these roads – the average free flow speed is 48mph.
- If you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle be patient. Dips in roads, bends and other junctions joining your road often hide oncoming vehicles, so unless it's absolutely essential, don't overtake.
- If passing more vulnerable road users such as horse riders, cyclists and walkers, pass wide and slow.
- Even if you’re familiar with a country road, never take it for granted as the conditions can be different every time.