Road Safety News

THINK! launches new interactive Country Roads graphic

Monday 28th November 2016

The THINK! team has launched an interactive 360 degree image of a crash as part of the latest phase of the autumn 2016 Country Roads campaign.

The image, which forms the social media element of the campaign, has been designed specifically for Facebook, with all features available for both desktop and mobile users.

The image is seen through the eyes of the driver and shows a car as it swerves to avoid a tractor on a bend, before ultimately crashing - tying in with the campaign’s key message ‘Brake before the bend, not on it’.

The image is designed to spread the campaign message across social media and extend its reach among young drivers aged 25-34 years.

THINK! is currently adapting the image so it can be used outside of Facebook, while maintaining its interactive nature.

Relaunched in October, the current Country Roads campaign aims to get drivers to anticipate hazards that may lie ahead and reduce their speed before they enter a bend.

Evaluation of the 2015 campaign shows that drivers within the 25-34 years age group did pick up this message and reduce their speed into bends.

59% of all road fatalities occur on country roads, and in 2015, 10,307 people were killed or seriously injured on country roads in Great Britain. The number of people killed on country roads is 10 times higher than on motorways.

The biggest contributory factor to killed or seriously injured casualties on rural roads is loss of control, which is frequently associated with inappropriate speed at bends.

A revised THINK! Country Roads toolkit is available for download from the members area on the Road Safety GB website. The toolkit includes background information, key campaign messages, advice for drivers using country roads, campaign materials and details of how road safety professionals can get involved in the campaign. 


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Unfortunately, the one group of motorised road users who seem to be immune to even the best campaigns are the "thrill-seekers" i.e. those who would rather live for the moment by knowingly going too fast on the approach to and around the bends. It does seem to be male drivers who tend to do this (young and old) in both cars and on bikes and they over-estimate their abilities and are more motivated by the thrill of the moment than safety. Luck runs out unfortunately and a succesion of close shaves can eventually become one final grim statistic for some - that in itelf could be a tag line for a road safety ad, but as I said in an earlier comment, those who need to heed it most are the ones who seem to be the most in denial.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

On looking at this video I do like, but whilst it give out a message it goes no way into what effort must be put into it in order to alleviate this problem. As an example, it's OK saying something like give space but not referring to any guidelines at to what amount of space is safe. It says think and then leaves one wondering what to think. People being generally lazy will do nothing about it.

As regards bends, as stated it's not just the entrance speed whilst approaching a bend, it's the actual speed that is equally if not more important. A recent survey and report on this site some months ago gave details of a study which pinpointed some errors that motorists admitted to have suffered.

Many admitted that they have taken bends too fast and the majority of those admitted that they had had to swerve to avoid something in the road though I suspect that they may have lost some control themselves but its easier blaming something else.

When it comes specifically to motorcycles, then quite a large proportion of KSIs occur on bends and has apparently done so for many decades without any serious reductions being made. It leads me to question as to whether, perhaps we have not been training riders right and need to look carefully at this specific danger and re-write the book on safety on bends.

In my opinion I believe that we have instructed riders in what some may believe to be the safest way of cornering but one which can and usually does lead a rider to take corners or bends at speeds faster than they had previously done, and any training which results in greater speed being used on our country roads to my mind can be, and is, a dangerous road to travel down.

There is plenty of advice as to how to drive and be safe in the Highway Code and again I refer to it.
Bob Craven Lancs

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I've found the relevant info Honor, so no need to respond thanks. It's a good attempt in principle to measure the effect of a campaign, although sampling 30 drivers over two, one week periods, seems too small and the reductions in speeds in different scenarios seemed to me to be too small to be significant and could have been explained by other influences and factors. Overall however, telematics and cameras do seem to be a good way (possibly the only way) of seeing how effective a campaign to improve individual driving may be. Next step for telematics - post-speed awareness course driving possibly?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Thanks Honor, that's good to know - is there a link for me to find out more? I presume the monitoring equipment must have been able to identify a bend, its severity and what might have been an appropriate speed - obviously most drivers would have reduced their speed anyway - it's whether the participants of the campaign were able to judge it better and give themselves that extra margin for safety than they otherwise would have done, without the campaign. Perhaps the THINK! press release should have referred to the telematics to give some credence to the claim.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (5)

Hugh, the Think team evaluated this campaign by a variety of methods, including the use of telematics kit in the sample drivers cars. When they quote reduction in speeds into bends that is fact not conjecture or intention. It is really helpful to have this level of quantitave evaluation by Think, which local authorities would like to achieve but can rarely afford to do.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

Evaluation of campaigns can't tell us whether recipients act upon the messages received. It might well be a case of "message received and understood" but do they have the necessary judgment, self-discipline and will to subsequently put it into practice? e.g. RE para 7 above "Evaluation of the 2015 campaign shows that drivers within the 25-34 years age group did pick up this message and reduce their speed into bends" Should that read "...and SAID they'd reduce their speed into bends (if necessary)"? Their perception of what may be a safe speed into a bend may be wrong.

There is an interactive 'SLOW' left-hand bend' warning sign on my local 'B' road which works - in the sense that it lights up - however there are still some who don't 'slow'. If such a direct message (arguably more direct than a social media campaign) doesn't influence drivers, then we have to presume that some drivers don't have the awareness and judgment to know a safe speed from an unsafe speed (although they may think they do) and therefore campaigns like this whilst well-intentioned, are not necessarily going to affect the drivers they are really targeting.

A poor sense of speed, safety margins, distance, time, vehicle dynamics etc. seem to be the underlying root causes of collisions and whilst the authorities do their best with appropriate messages, the problem will always be getting the target audience to realise it's about them!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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An excellent use of new technology, resulting in a very strong visual message. I would urge all RSOs to share this as widely as possible.
Iain Temperton - RSGB

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