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Dangers of rural roads revealed

Young drivers are almost twice as likely to have crashes on country roads than on city highways, an analysis of official figures shows.

And a survey shows that more than two in five 17 to 24-year-olds are more likely to drive faster on rural roads.

The Road Safety Analysis (RSA) company and the Michelin Tyre company looked at Government road accident figures for the period 2007/11.

The companies said that the figures showed that young rural drivers aged 17 to 25 were 44% more likely to be involved in an injury-causing collision than those driving on urban roads.

These young drivers travelling on country routes were also 63% more likely to have an accident in the dark, 52% more likely to be involved in a collision on a bend and 28% more likely to claim loss of control as a contributory factor in their accident.

The riskiest areas for accidents to young drivers were Lincolnshire, South Glamorgan and Surrey.

The survey, by Michelin, was based on 700 drivers aged 17 to 25.

It showed that 41% were more likely to drive faster on rural roads, with many admitting going at a greater rate as the roads were quieter.

Other reasons given for higher speeds were knowing the road "like the back of my hand", while some said they were copying their friends by going fast and others admitted there was less chance of being caught speeding in the country.

The Government is being urged by some groups to make changes to learner driver requirements, to the driving test and to what newly-qualified drivers can and cannot do.

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