Drivers beware!!

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RURAL drivers are being urged to take extra care after figures showing most fatalities occur on country roads.

Although traffic levels are generally lighter, rural roads accounted for 982 deaths — nearly 60% of all fatalities in 2014, said breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist.

GEM chief executive David Williams said: "Driving in the countryside is usually a great pleasure, with good views, quiet roads and a variety of interesting terrain.

"But a narrow, twisting road offers very little clue as to what might be round the next bend. That's why we're urging drivers to expect the unexpected and to make sure they have time and space to stop safely if necessary."

Motorists should ask themselves what might be around the corner on a rural road with restricted visibility.

"It could be another car or a motorcycle coming towards you too fast, a group of cyclists on a ride out, sheep or cattle crossing the road, a horse and rider, a wild animal, or a slow-moving farm tractor."

Drivers should be ready to anticipate what could be there until they had had perfect sight of what's ahead, said Mr Williams.
"By adjusting your speed and position accordingly, you're doing your bit to keep yourself and the other road users safe."

GEM has prepared a selection of simple driver tips to help improve rural road safety.

Motorists should use any existing signage to help them drive safely.

Usual signs included a series of white chevron signs on a black background, indicating a sharp bend.

"Slow down, even if the posted speed limit is 30 mph," said Mr Williams.

"The narrowness of country lanes means that passing places are sometimes provided into embankments or verges. Be prepared to reverse into these if necessary.

Drivers should also stay safe by never exceeding the signed limit.

"Country lanes are often used as a short cut or an escape from congested main roads. Using them may actually be a longer way round to your destination leading you to be in a hurry."

Country lanes may be in a poor state of repair. At any sign of this be ready for pot-holes and other broken surfaces that can seriously damage a vehicle.

Finally, drivers should give horse-riders a very slow and wide berth and keep their distance until it was safe to pull past.

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