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Keeping Safe on Rural Roads

September 8, 2014

Do you know the legal speed limits for your local rural roads? Many drivers seem to think that the quietness of rural roads and the lack of built up surrounds mean you have a free for all and can drive at whatever speed you like. This simply isn’t the case and the road safety charity Brake’s Rural Roads not Racetracks campaign is urging drivers to drive more safely and petitioning the government to think about new speed limits.

According to Brake’s research on rural roads, one in three drivers admit to driving too fast on rural roads. Brake go as far to as suggest that drivers think they can treat rural roads as their personal racetrack, with reckless overtaking and taking corners too quickly amongst the most common activities.

There is a sense that lower traffic in rural areas means drivers are lulled into a false sense of security but rural roads have consistently been the most dangerous type around. Rural roads are comparatively more dangerous than motorways and busy thoroughfares, with 895 people killed in collisions in the rural countryside in 2013.

You are twice as likely to be killed in an accident in a rural area as you are in a built-up area if you’re a car driver and there is also a significantly increased risk to motorcyclists and cyclists. The way country roads are treated can be dangerous for everyone around, in many instances they are less well lit than urban areas and there could be hidden hazards and risks around every corner, which should lead people to drive more safely and slowly, not the opposite.

This infographic from Brake shows exactly how dangerous rural roads can be, in comparison to other roads:

Rural Roads Not Race Tracks

Know your Speed Limits

The majority of country roads around the UK have a 60 mile per hour speed limit but due to the conditions mentioned above, there are very few rural roads where 60 miles an hour is actually an appropriate speed, according to Brake. The number of blind bends, bridges, animals crossing and narrow pathways make driving at top speeds on rural roads dangerously. Many don’t have pathways or pavements at all, increasing the chance of pedestrians on the road and with potholes and environmental debris more common on rural roads, your stopping distances will be effected.

With so many more people dying in collisions on rural roads than anywhere else it is clear something needs to change and Brake are lobbying for speed limits to be reduced to 50 miles an hour as standard with even tighter restrictions in known black spots. They are also supportive of the installation of more speed cameras and improving the pavements and pathways for the protection of pedestrians.

At Lamb & Co we deal with clients who have been involved in accidents up and down the country, including those who have been involved collisions in rural areas. Different types of road and area need specialised regulations to ensure they are as safe as possible.