GEM offers five-point guide for staying safe on rural roads
ROAD SAFETY organisation GEM Motoring Assist is responding to today’s news that three people are dying in the UK every day in collisions on rural roads.
In the past year, 862 people have died in collisions on rural roads in England alone, according to the Department for Transport.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE comments: “It’s disturbing to note that such a high proportion of fatalities occur on rural roads, but it’s no surprise, given the variation in road types, terrain and visibility, and the variety of different road users sharing the same space.
“Crashes occur frequently because motorists meet unexpected hazards such as sharp bends, animals or oncoming traffic. If they’re already driving at an inappropriate speed, then they simply won’t have the time and space they need to stop safety. In these circumstances, a serious collision is inevitable.
“The key message is slow down. Vast stretches of the rural road network are subject to the national speed limit, which for cars and motorbikes is 60mph. But that’s not a target, and it’s often reckless to drive on a rural road at anywhere near that speed.”
GEM has complied a five-point guide for safety on rural roads:
1. Slow down. Always drive at a speed that allows you to stop within the distance you can see to be clear ahead.
2. Take nothing for granted. However familiar you may be with a stretch of rural road, always expect the unexpected as you negotiate a bend or hill brow. Be ready to slow right down or stop if you have to.
3. Look out for animals, and give them plenty of space. Be ready to pull over and switch off your engine, to prevent alarming a nervous horse or farm animal.
4. If overtaking, leave nothing to chance. Don’t start your manoeuvre until you know exactly how you will end it.
5. Take in and use the information that’s there for you. Signs and road paint indicate hazards ahead. Mud on the road might mean slow-moving tractors. Horse manure, especially if it’s fresh, suggests horses ahead.