Motorists are being warned about the dangers of country roads.
A new campaign by road safety group THINK! is encourage drivers to brake before a bend and not on it.
Latest figures from the Department of Transport show that country roads are the deadliest, with five people being killed on them in Tyne and Wear and 52 seriously injured last year.
Nearly a third of road users in the north east admit to braking too late on bends and nearly half claimed to have swerved to avoid something in the road.
The problem is most acute among young drivers, with a third confessing to braking too late before a bend and more than one in ten admitting to ‘taking the racing line’ by crossing into the opposite side of the road to take a turn faster.
THINK!’s Helpful Hazards campaign features animals and vehicles sprayed with helpful signs prompting drivers to slow down, anticipate hazards and brake before the bend.
Road Safety Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “Every injury and death on our roads is a tragedy and that is why the new THINK! country-road campaign is so important.”
“We want the public to anticipate potential hazards on the road when driving in the countryside, to watch their speed and take care when approaching a bend.”
Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Our country roads and lanes are for everyone. They are for drivers, walkers, riders, cyclists and, of course, farmers.
“They are often beautiful, lined by high hedges and dry stone walls. They are part of rural life.
“But they also account for the majority of fatal crashes. Even if you think you know a road like the back of your hand, you can never be sure what’s round the corner. So let’s keep our country roads safe for everyone too. Please take care, and keep your speed down.”
For more information search ‘THINK!’.