The former transport minister and Smart Highways columnist Dr Stephen Ladyman says that new statistics about rural road deaths mean there’s a clear case for more investment in ITS.
Figures from the Department for Transport show three people died on country roads every day last year, a total of 1,040, while 9,051 more were seriously injured.
A third (348) of fatalities occurred on a bend.
“I live in a rural area and seeing the way people drive on country roads shows that improvements can’t be made soon enough,” said Dr Ladyman. “I know ITS has a number of solutions to slow people down and drive more safely, and it’s far more cost-effective than wholesale redesigns of roads”.
Almost a quarter of road users surveyed admit to braking too late on bends and two fifths said they have swerved to avoid something in the road, while a third of younger drivers say they brake too late on bends.
Dr Ladyman is an ambassador for Clearview, a company which makes active road studs and he says that’s a clear quick win: “Active road studs don’t rely on the driver’s headlights in order to be illuminated, meaning drivers know about bends in the road for much longer and prepare for them much better. They last for much longer than traditional studs and so are just as affordable for local authorities over the life of the product. And if you’ve driven on a road fitted with active studs, you’ll know just how much easier it is to pick out the road’s layout”.
In response to today’s statistics, THINK! is launching a new country roads campaign. THINK! has partnered with a farmer to turn potential road hazards into impossible-to-ignore warning signs. ‘Helpful hazards’ features animals and vehicles sprayed with helpful signs prompting drivers to slow down, anticipate hazards and brake before the bend, not on it.