Going for a spin in the countryside is considered a pleasure by many car drivers in the UK, whatever the season. Long, summer evening drives are slowly making way for the chance to enjoy the British countryside in all its autumnal glory – a pleasure for many of us out and about in our cars at weekends – but a recent report has shown how risky this pleasure can be.
A Road Safety Foundation report shows that single carriageways are more dangerous than motorways and that drivers are eight times more likely to be injured in a car accident on a single-lane A-road than they are on a motorway.
The A18 in Lincolnshire, or rather a 10-mile stretch of it between Laceby and Ludborough, was named as the “most persistent high risk” road by the report, which also found that the ten most dangerous roads in the UK are all single-carriageway A-roads.
Why are Single Carriageways More Dangerous?
The 10-mile section of the A18 is a winding and narrow country road lined with trees. These are obvious risk factors if a car is travelling at speed and fails to reduce its speed or notice a sharp bend in time.
A lack of lay-bys and crash barriers on rural A-roads, as well as the presence of dangerous junctions, are other risk factors highlighted by Road Safety Foundation report, which also found that 50% of fatal collisions happen on rural roads.
Two of the highest risk single carriageways were especially dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists, who were involved in 70% of collisions on these roads. This is a completely unacceptable risk to our most vulnerable road users. Drivers must be urged to take care on country roads and the Highways Agency should urgently consider safety initiatives to reduce the collision risk and the ‘danger factor’ of our country roads.
The Department of Transport’s Think! website gives practical advice on safe driving on country roads, including a reminder that a speed limit is a limit, not a target and a helpful video that shows a lot of the hazards that are commonly found when driving in the countryside.
To echo the words of Lord Whitty, who chairs the Road Safety Foundation, “the margin for human error is often small.” We should all keep this in mind next time we go for a drive along rural roads and be aware of the risks involved so that all road users can enjoy the countryside safely.
Jane Cooper is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK and heads up the firm’s Road Traffic Accident Fast Track Claims department.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for any driver, cyclist or pedestrian injured through no fault of their own.
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