Formula One ace says cut your speed on rural roads

SAFETY FIRST: David Coulthard is warning drivers to cut their speed on rural roads.
SAFETY FIRST: David Coulthard is warning drivers to cut their speed on rural roads.

Former Formula 1 racing driver David Coulthard is urging drivers in South Ayrshire to adjust their speed on country roads to help reduce the number of fatalities in the area.

Around 70% of all road deaths in Scotland happen on country roads which have accounted for 1,596 fatal or serious accidents in the region over the last five years. Three out of four people killed on Scotland’s country roads are men and the biggest cause of accidents is driving too fast for the conditions.

Coulthard is lending his support to the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland) to get across the message that even the best drivers in the world adjust their speed on country roads.

The innovative approach from the Scottish Government is thought to be the first time a former Formula 1 racing driver has fronted a national road safety TV ad anywhere in the world. The Carrick Gazette hopes to make drivers aware that you don’t have to be speeding to be driving too fast for the road conditions.

Speaking about the campaign, Coulthard, who won 13 Grand Prix titles during his career, said: “I’m backing this year’s country roads campaign because I grew up in the South West of Scotland, and did most of my early driving around there, so I’m aware that countryside driving comes with its own unique set of challenges. Driving on country roads takes more than simply being aware of the basic Highway Code; increased concentration and greater care is needed to adapt to the muddy tracks and changeable conditions which make country roads particularly tricky.

“The main goal of this campaign is to ultimately reduce fatalities on country roads. Sadly too many people are killed in road accidents that could be avoided. I hope this campaign will reduce the eventuality of accidents on country roads and make sure it is something that doesn’t happen as frequently in the future as it unfortunately does today.”

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “In Scotland we currently have the lowest road casualty figures since records began. Fatalities are down by 11 per cent from 2010, and while even one death on our roads is one too many, there are encouraging signs of progress. This success is due to many influences, not least the commitment and dedication of the road safety community in Scotland and the responsible behaviour of the vast majority of road users.

“However it’s clear that we are still seeing too many fatalities and serious injuries that are avoidable. This innovative campaign can help get the message across that even the most qualified drivers in the world, drive to the conditions on country roads. We know that male drivers make up three quarters of those killed on our roads and 70 per cent of fatal accidents happen on country roads. I hope that David Coulthard, a Formula 1 legend, can help convince them to change their dangerous driving habits.”

In the TV ad, Coulthard demonstrates to drivers, through a reconstruction, how even the best drivers in the world adjust their speed on country roads.

The campaign is being rolled out across TV, radio, online and cinema during March to make drivers aware that they don’t have to be going over the speed limit to be going too fast, they should constantly check their speed to adapt to the changing conditions on country roads and that even if people use a rural road regularly, the hazards can still be unpredictable. Driving even slightly too fast to read the road properly can turn avoidable accidents into serious and even fatal ones.

Pre-campaign research found Coulthard is seen as a respected and credible role model by drivers and is the ideal person to raise the issue of driving safely on country roads and encourage a reduction in risk-taking behaviour – especially among the campaign’s target audience of men aged 22 – 40.

Log onto www.dontriskit.info or check out the Road Safety Scotland Facebook page.