TIPS FOR YOUNG DRIVERS TO KEEP SAFE ON OUR CORNWALL ROADS
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Most people probably assume that motorways are the most dangerous roads in the UK, but the shocking fact is that accident fatalities are eleven times higher on country roads than on motorways.
The beauty of Cornwall is that it is a predominantly rural county, but its country roads pose a particular danger to young drivers.
Nearly twenty-five per cent of drivers involved in car accidents in Cornwall are aged between 16 and 25, one of the worst accident statistics for young drivers in the entire UK. Country roads might seem less dangerous than motorways or dual carriageways because there is a lower volume of traffic and the speeds at which vehicles travel are slower, but country roads require drivers to think ahead much more than on larger, straighter roads, which is something that inexperienced drivers can fail to do.
Young men are particularly at risk and the combination of inexperience, overconfidence and risk taking is a dangerous cocktail that results in too many tragic fatalities. Driving on rural roads requires the driver to be on the lookout for the unexpected. Even though the roads may appear to have little traffic, blind bends, the brow of a hill, mud on the road and very slow agricultural vehicles or animals, all present sudden dangers. Overtaking on country roads is often difficult and particularly dangerous when a driver makes the assumption that probably nothing will be coming the other way.
HOW TO STAY SAFE:
- Always drive with caution. Be patient and never take chances. Read the road ahead and be aware of potential dangers.
- Stick to the speed limits and if weather conditions are bad switch your lights on and take it easy. In torrential rain, pull over and park safely, even if you are going to be late.
- Enrol on the Pass Plus scheme. Drivers who have just passed their test are particularly vulnerable because they have yet to gain the experience that makes for safe driving. Pass Plus is a government road safety initiative which develops the confidence and safety of newly qualified drivers. Six hours of training costs around £200 but could result in lower insurance premiums.
- A black box policy, also known as telematics insurance, is one way to help you save money on your car insurance and focus you on driving safely. Telematics, which can be fitted to your dashboard, beneath the bonnet or as an app on your phone, records a range of data about the way you drive, such as how you accelerate and brake and your speed and location. Instead of having your insurance premiums based on statistics, they are based on how you drive. Safe drivers should see a reduction in the cost of their insurance premiums and feedback about how you drive enables you to improve your driving and to drive more safely and more economically. Already, over a million cars in the UK are fitted with telematics and in the near future all new cars will be fitted with the technology.