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Accidents in the Countryside: Everything you should know!

The British countryside can pose additional risks for both people walking in the countryside and also car drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists. It is commonly known that the hazards of rural roads add further risk of serious injury or death to those using them.

Reasons why people may lose control whilst driving on rural/ countryside roads:

Speed

National speed limits tend to apply to most rural areas and therefore accidents are more likely to occur. There are also far more hazards on a rural road than on urban roads due to their nature, including blind bends, dips and potholes and other distractions such as farm animals which can lead to loss of control.

Weather

Due to the nature of rural roads, the weather can have a bigger impact on fatalities. Bad weather tends to reduce the number of casualties as people notice that the roads are more slippery and their visibility is affected, so they tend to slow down and take more care.

When the weather is good, the effect tends to be an increase in casualties as there are more people on the road taking trips out and people feel more confident in their driving.

Environmental issues

As already mentioned, rural roads tend to have more twists and turns on a national speed limit road. It is also common for farm and wild animals such as deers to dash into oncoming traffic and cause drivers to swerve out of the way. Other factors include lack of lighting, loose debris and obstructions to visibility caused by overgrowing trees and crops.

Slip and trip claims in the countryside

People must be careful whilst enjoying the countryside on foot, especially as these claims are difficult to succeed.

One of the key elements to succeeding in a claim for a slip or trip on a rural track is whether or not the track or road is a highway that is maintainable at public expense. Under the Highway Act 1980 most footpaths are deemed to be public roads maintainable at public expense. Section 41 of the Act states that highways authority must maintain and repair the highway.

However, it is difficult considering most country side lanes, tracks and roads are nothing more than mud, stone and grass. The general rule seems to be if the road is considered to be generally safe for ordinary traffic, the road will be considered safe on a whole even if the verges are not safe for bicycles or pedestrians.

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