Brake urges rural road practice for young drivers

Crashed car in Cornwall Image copyright Getty Images

Practising on rural roads should be a compulsory part of driving lessons, according to a road safety charity.

Brake is calling for a new licensing system that would include a minimum driving period and restrictions for new drivers, along with the rural training.

The organisation's director of campaigns called the mix of rural roads and novice drivers "lethal".

In 2015, 120 young drivers died on UK roads, with 80% of crashes taking place in rural locations.

"High speeds, sharp bends, narrow lanes, risky overtaking and the presence of vulnerable road users like cyclists, make rural roads the most dangerous by far," said Jason Wakeford from Brake.

The charity believes a "graduated" licensing system, which would also include a zero drink-drive limit for those who are newly qualified, would allow drivers to build up more skills and experience.

Mr Wakeford added: "This approach has dramatically reduced road casualties in countries including Australia and New Zealand and could save some 400 lives a year if implemented in the UK."

The charity is also calling for a review of rural speed limits, more affordable public transport and the introduction of "Voluntary Intelligent Speed Adaptation" - a device put into a car that shows the speed limit of the road a person is driving on and can control the speed of the vehicle.

'Making different decisions'

Four years ago, Alison Eames was out riding her horse, Dylan, when she was struck by a car.

The impact Dylan took broke his spine and he had to be put down.

She backs the proposals from Brake and thinks more training for drivers on rural roads would save others from the same experience.

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Media captionAlison Eames was riding Dylan on a road near Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake when the accident happened

"We meet some very savvy people that understand horses are not motorbikes and unfortunately can get frightened," she said. "Then you meet other people who drive very aggressively, [who] will overtake you with only a few inches to spare.

"We then get other people that will stay behind us for 20 minutes because they don't understand how to overtake us.

"I don't think that a lot of this is down to bad drivers," added Ms Eames. "I think sometimes it is down to people not understanding. If people have got knowledge then they make different decisions.

"If you don't understand how horses are working or how they can get scared, then you are going to make a mistake that could cost you your life and other people their lives."

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