Charity warns about overtaking on rural roads

A country road to Ringstead. Photo: Simon Bamber.

A country road to Ringstead. Photo: Simon Bamber. - Credit:

Many motorists attempt risky overtaking, with men the main menace on the roads, according to a survey.

As many as 80% of drivers have felt endangered by their own overtaking or that of another vehicle, the survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Insurance found.

Nearly all drivers (94%) have witnessed a risky overtaking manoeuvre and 53% see them monthly or more, while 18% admitted they had overtaken when they were not certain if they could safely do so.

The survey, based on responses from 1,000 drivers, showed that risky overtaking was most common among male and young drivers, with 21% of men and 39% of 17-24-year-olds admitting doing so when they were not sure the road ahead was clear.

The risky-overtake figure for women was only 15%, while 7% of men and 3% of women said they attempted a dangerous bit of overtaking weekly or more often.

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Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: 'Overtaking on single carriageway country roads is a huge risk, and one that ultimately just isn't worth it.

'Why risk it and rush? You could cause a devastating, high-speed, head-on crash that ends lives and ruins others. In spite of this, a significant minority are still taking the risk and performing this aggressive and selfish manoeuvre.'

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Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line, said: 'People die on rural roads in the UK every day and many of these fatal crashes could be prevented. Our own data suggests that young drivers and their passengers are even more likely to be killed on this type of road.'

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