Caitlin’s message: rural roads, real danger

Road crashes are a bigger threat to young people than drugs, gun, and knife crime. So we've teamed up with the AA Charitable Trust to highlight the danger of rural roads.

Did you know that 71% of fatal crashes involving young drivers happen on rural roads? Yet more than eight in ten drivers (86%) underestimate the risk driving poses to their safety. Road crashes are a bigger threat to young people than drugs, gun, and knife crime.

Caitlin Huddleston didn’t appreciate just how dangerous rural roads can be. She was 18 when she accepted a lift from a friend who had just passed her driving test. They were only 15 minutes from home when Caitlin’s friend lost control on a bend and collided with a van. Caitlin was killed.

Her mother, Sharron, has imagined what advice Caitlin might give to newly qualified drivers, their passengers, and their parents if she could. This is Caitlin’s message…


Congratulations on passing your test, I didn’t quite get around to mine…

When I was 18 I was applying for my provisional licence when one evening I accepted a lift from my 18-year-old friend. She was a novice driver… like you are now!

All the research on novice drivers and rural roads was proven right on that evening. If my parents or I had known this life-saving information, I wonder what I would be doing now?

My parents often wonder this. Unfortunately, we will never know…

I was tragically killed as a passenger in a fatal car crash on a rural road just 15 minutes after being picked up from my family home… So now I am forever 18.

I was looking forward that summer to going to my first music festival…. I had everything ready to go… but I was buried in my local churchyard on that day instead.

Don’t ever think it won’t happen to you! My parents didn’t think it would happen to me. How wrong we were.

Please share the advice my advice with your family and friends to raise awareness among young newly qualified drivers and their parents and carers to help save young lives on our roads.

Please take care driving so you have a future.

Mine was taken from me.

Love Caitlin


Caitlin’s tips: How to stay safe on rural roads

  • Gain experience with your driving instructor or parents on rural roads in different weather conditions, even after passing your test.
  • With every extra same-age passenger, you are four times more likely to have a crash, potentially killing yourself and your friends, compared to driving alone.
  • Consider not giving friends a lift until you have gained experience.
  • As a passenger, only travel with experienced drivers you trust.
  • Remember, fatal crashes are more likely late at night or early in the morning.
  • Take it easy, and slow down before bends.
  • Drive more slowly in bad weather – the speed limit isn’t a target.
  • Expect the unexpected – there could be a walker, cyclist, tractor, or animal around every corner.
  • Always be ready to stop in the distance you can see to be safe.
  • Value your life as youth and inexperience puts you more at risk behind the wheel.
  • Look at the AA’s interactive map to find dangerous roads near you. Avoid them or take extra care.

Main image courtesy of Eco – Walking and Pedestrian-Friendly Initiatives.

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