Drivers issued urgent rural road warning with new motoring plans to crack down on rise in crashes

Cars driving on rural road

A number of motorists fear driving on rural roads

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 05/12/2023

- 09:24

'Serious conversations need to happen to make rural roads safer for everyone'

Drivers who are involved in car accidents on rural roads are around four times more likely to be killed on urban highways, according to new data.

On average, one in every 31 collisions on rural roads in Britain resulted in a death last year, with insurer NFU Mutual issuing an urgent warning to motorists.

In comparison, urban roads in towns and cities see a fatal collision in one of every 120 crashes.

The research is based on Department for Transport figures on crashes where at least one person was injured, with experts calling for more to be done to protect rural drivers.

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Some of the most common contributing factors for accidents include vehicles travelling at high speeds resulting in head-on collisions, loss of vehicle control, unmarked junctions and increased traffic rates.

In March, the Government’s Think! campaign launched a new initiative to slash the number of young male drivers killed on rural roads.

Around three out of five crashes in which young male drivers die or suffer a serious injury happen on rural roads, with a new Code for Countryside Roads being developed to help motorists.

NFU Mutual chief executive Nick Turner said: “Rural roads are not only the arteries of the rural economy but also the gateway to our countryside and a source of enjoyment for millions.

“Sadly, our analysis shows that, after a few years of decreasing fatalities, rural roads are becoming more deadly again.

“Every road death is one too many, and we believe serious conversations need to happen to make rural roads safer for everyone.”

Over 1,000 people were killed on rural roads last year, with thousands of others being injured.

In response to the staggering number of road deaths and injuries, NFU Mutual has launched a Code for Countryside Roads.

This will welcome feedback and advice from experts and groups to provide “a clear guide” on how people should use rural roads.

Nick Turner continued, saying: “We all need to work together to ensure we keep our countryside as safe as it can be.

“We invite members of the public and experts to get in touch with us to feed into the Code for Countryside Roads, and hope the document, once published, will help steer a course towards safer rural roads for all road users.”

A survey found that one in seven people have been involved in a crash on rural roads, while 22 per cent admitted they felt uncomfortable driving on them.

Drivers said they were most fearful about road safety in rural areas, namely blind corners, narrow roads, impatient drivers and people breaking the speed limit.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Our roads are among the safest in the world, but we are committed to improving road safety.


Car driving on rural road

Some drivers said they were concerned about speeding and blind corners


“That’s why we are investing £147.5million through the Safer Roads Fund to make improvements on the country’s most high-risk roads, as well as running our well-known THINK! campaigns to encourage responsible driving.”

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