The Department for Transport's THINK! Country Roads Campaign,
warns drivers not to go faster than the conditions allow.
Rural areas can tempt motorists into driving too fast for the conditions they
are facing. Long straights and demanding bends, as well as less traffic and fewer
pedestrians can make drivers believe it is ‘safe’ to go faster than
they normally would. But the stark reality is actually the opposite - the risk
of fatally injuring yourself or your passengers increases threefold on a rural road.
This is backed up by the evidence that there is often only one car involved
in rural accidents, making it likely that drivers have been tempted to push
themselves or their car beyond their limits. Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick
"Driving on rural roads can be deceiving. It is important that
motorists drive with as much care on a rural road as they would in a more built-up
area. The ‘national’ 60mph speed limit is a maximum, not an expectation, and
drivers must match their speed to the road characteristics and weather conditions
they are experiencing as well as factoring in unpredictable hazards - like sharp
bends, limited visibility or even animals - which can require a quick reaction."
Figures for 2006 show that nationally 325 car users were killed on rural roads
when driving too fast for the conditions or speeding.
Important messages for rural drivers and passengers:
- Car users are three times more likely to die on a rural road than an urban one.
- Don't assume it's safe to break the speed limit on rural roads just because there is less traffic.
- With a clear road ahead you may be tempted to put your foot down. THINK! before you accelerate on rural roads.
- Drive at a speed according to the characteristics of the road and be aware that there are unforeseen and dangerous hazards such as blind bends
and animals on the road.
- At slower speeds, you would be able to react more quickly.
- The national 60mph speed limit should not be seen as a target speed.
- Take special care when driving at night on rural roads as other drivers' headlights could temporarily blind you.
- In the UK in 2006 325 deaths were directly attributable to speeding or driving too fast for the conditions.
More information available at the THINK! Resource Centre: