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Make a New Year's resolution to drive safe on country roads

Published
04.01.2016

As temperatures drop and weather worsens, staying safe on the county's country roads is even more important at this time of year.

Rural Gloucestershire is criss-crossed by country roads and some of them even date back to Roman times. More than 66 per cent of the county's network is made up of rural roads, which means there is a higher accident rate in rural areas.

Some road users feel safer in rural areas because generally the roads carry less traffic, but this is a false sense of security as seven out of ten fatal collisions happen on a country road.

Country roads are shared spaces and can be full of unpredictable hazards, such as wildlife including deer and wild boar. Cyclists, horse riders and slower vehicles also use country roads as part of their work travelling between farms.

That is why the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership has launched a new country roads campaign, reminding residents how important it is to pay attention to the road, and the surroundings.

Drivers are asked to look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances, making sure to read the road ahead and anticipate any potential hazards.

Cllr Will Windsor Clive, cabinet member responsible for road safety said, "Sadly, 68 per cent of all fatalities occur on country roads. We're reminding drivers and riders to drive safely and brake before a bend, and not on it.

"These roads often have sharp bends and blind corners which can hide unexpected hazards, so give yourself time to react by driving at a speed which will allow you to stop in advance, allowing even more time when it's wet or icy.

"Even if you're familiar with a country road, never take it for granted as the conditions can be different every time."

Gloucestershire Police is putting on additional patrols to reinforce the message that country roads are only as safe as the way people use them. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said, "We live in a rural county so most of us drive on country roads at some time or another. We all love the open road and we are blessed with some of the finest countryside but we cannot afford to underestimate the inherent dangers or ignore the evidence.

"The hard facts are that in one four year period 96 people were killed on country roads in Gloucestershire compared to 11 on motorways. That's why, because of the rural nature of the county, this is such an important campaign for Gloucestershire.  

"We know that a sizeable proportion of the road using public do their very best to keep within the law, but it is also apparent that a minority still pose a significant risk to themselves and others by making inappropriate choices. If we treat all road users with respect and behave in a polite and sociable way whilst driving, it will make travelling through our beautiful county a more enjoyable and safer experience and decrease the likelihood of being involved in a road traffic collision.

"Roads do not cause accidents and crashes, it is how we use them".

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