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Councillor Mark Deaville
County Councillor Mark Deaville

Drivers urged to take care on country roads

Drivers are being reminded to take care when on the county’s rural roads in the latest campaign being supported by the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership.

Staffordshire roads continue to be amongst the safest in the country, and as a rural county has many smaller country roads.

The campaign is targeting younger drivers aged 25 – 34 with the message ‘break before the bend not on it’.  In 2015 nearly 40% of serious collisions occurred on the county’s rural roads with younger drivers accounting for around a fifth of all casualties.

Country roads often have more hazards such as sharp bends, overgrown verges, hidden dips, blind corners and concealed entrances which can make driving conditions more difficult.  Furthermore, young and inexperienced drivers are also more likely to take unnecessary risks on rural roads, forgetting hazards like mud on the road, animals, people out walking and slow moving tractors etc.

Speaking on behalf of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership, Mark Deaville, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways with Staffordshire County Council said:

Keeping our roads safe remains a top priority for us and our roads continue to be amongst the safest in the country.

“In a county as rural as Staffordshire we do have a lot of minor country roads and that’s why we are asking drivers to take extra care, especially younger drivers. And with darker evenings and wintery weather upon us people also need to slow down and drive to the conditions.”

Mark added:

The biggest contributory factor to collisions on rural roads is loss of control, which is often associated with inappropriate speed at bends.  Slowing down, being aware of potential hazards and thinking what might be around the corner are all simple things that can help keep people safer on the road.”

Some advice for drivers:

  • The best drivers read the road ahead and anticipate potential hazards. People should look out for upcoming bends, hidden dips, blind summits and concealed entrances.
  • Country roads often have sharp bends. To stay in control and give yourself time to react to unexpected hazards, brake before the bend, not in it.
  • Overgrown verges, bushes and trees on country roads can block your view and potentially obscure an oncoming hazard. Always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear (double that on a single track road). Allow more time to stop on wet or slippery surfaces.
  • If you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, be patient. Dips in roads, bends and other junctions joining your road often hide oncoming vehicles, so don’t overtake unless it’s absolutely essential.
  • If passing more vulnerable road users such as horse riders, cyclists and walkers, pass wide and slow.

Further advice on safer driving is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/transport/roadsafety/winterdriving