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Reckless rural driving

9 July 2007

Reckless rural driving is putting lives at risk, with motorists aged under 25 most to blame, it was revealed today.

A third of these young drivers admit taking bends at speed, a fifth drive faster than is safe and two-thirds break speed limits, a survey showed.

The survey from Autoglass and RoadSafe showed two-thirds of the 3,000 annual road deaths occur on rural roads yet two-thirds of young drivers seem unaware of the risks they take on country lanes.

Survey results

Based on responses from 1,550 motorists, the survey showed:

  • A third of motorists falsely believe they are at more risk of an accident on an urban road;
  • 69% of men admit driving above the speed limit on a rural road and 18% say they have driven faster than was safe;
  • 42% of all drivers aged 18-24 have taken a bend at speed on a rural road;
  • Slow-moving traffic on rural roads - such as tractors, caravans and cyclists - make 60% of drivers annoyed but just 10% admit that this affects their driving;
  • 45% believe that the national speed limit should be reduced on rural roads, with 18% saying that it should be cut to 50mph;
  • 86% of motorists believe young drivers should receive more practical experience of country/rural roads when learning to drive.

July and August are the peak months for rural road crashes and one in four male drivers killed or seriously injured on rural roads is under the age of 25.

Rural road hazards

Autoglass managing director Nigel Doggett said: "Less traffic on rural roads compared with urban roads and motorways often leads people to think that they are safer to drive on. But rural roads have their own very unique hazards."

"Combine this with accelerated speeds and the time that a driver has to react is significantly shortened. This is where manoeuvres such as overtaking at speed and on a bend become a serious risk and could be putting lives in danger."

Adrian Walsh at RoadSafe said: "We need to educate drivers themselves, especially among young people, to try and change their driving behaviour."

"Much more needs to be done with young drivers and we need to radically rethink how we prepare them for driving."

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