Road Safety Week: Beware the Dangers on Rural Roads

Posted by
editor@newrytimes.com
Monday, November 18th, 2019
Community

As Road Safety Week (18 – 24 November 2019) gets underway all road users are reminded of the hazards we face when travelling on our rural roads.

The Department for Infrastructure is collaborating with road safety partners in the emergency services and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster to urge everyone to be aware of the particular vulnerabilities we all face when we travel.

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Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary of the Department said, “Keeping road users safe as we travel is a key priority for the Department throughout the year but, with two-thirds of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions here occurring on rural roads, the focus for this week is rural road safety.

 

 

“Whether we are walking, cycling or driving, we need to be mindful that our country roads, while beautiful, do present hidden dangers.

“This week especially we are reminding all road users that rural roads may seem safe due to their lower traffic flow, but they are deadlier than we think. Higher speeds, hidden dips and twisty roads reduce the distance that drivers can see ahead giving less time to react and resulting in more severe impacts.

“When travelling we should not take risks with our safety or the safety of others,” she added.

The Department, alongside its road safety partners, is reminding us that when driving, we need to be on the lookout for people with whom we share the road – when we cannot see ahead, always assume that there may well be someone walking, cycling or on horseback around the corner.

 

 

Take extra care when overtaking and pay particular attention at junctions, when emerging and turning right. It may seem obvious but expecting the unexpected can help us stay safe, especially if we suddenly encounter mud on the road, animals or slow-moving farm machinery.

If we are cycling, walking or horse-riding, we need to ensure we help ourselves to be seen by others by wearing bright, contrasting clothing by day and ideally reflective clothing at night. Remember, if out walking, use footpaths where available and always walk on the right-hand side facing the oncoming traffic.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said, “While only one-third of collisions occur on rural roads, the severity of these crashes, which are often caused by excessive speed and inattention, means they account for two-thirds of the deaths and over half of the serious injuries that occur throughout Northern Ireland.

“With our significant rural road network, longer hours of darkness and the recent arrival of winter weather, drivers must modify their driving to cope with winter conditions.

He added, “In particular, by reducing their speed. Just because a road may have a 60mph limit, the road surface could be icy or retaining surface water that makes it unsafe and inappropriate to travel at the posted speed limit.”

 

 

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