Matters of life and death can be down to a matter of centimetres: a car either hits a tree or narrowly avoids it, resulting in less serious injuries.
Newer A class roads, such as the Uckfield, Maresfield and East Hoathly by-passes are wider with verges and lots of room to manoeuvre if a vehicle leaves the road.
In comparison, the A26 between Uckfield and Crowborough is tree-lined for much of the route.
A question of luck
Dr Jeremy Leach, Wealden District Council, principal policy adviser, said: “The difference between a fatality and minor injuries can be down to how unlucky you are.”
Dr Leach pinpointed many A-class roads in the district as having solid objects alongside the carriageway. The original design of the roads was no longer suitable for current use, as witnessed by the changes made in the design of newer roads.
Wealden also suffers because there only short stretches of dual carriageway, which are statistically safer.
The number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on Wealden roads is the highest in East Sussex and one of the highest in the region.
On another scale, Wealden comes at the bottom of the table.
Correlating the population as a whole and the total length of roads (800 miles), Wealden had the lowest KSI figures in East Sussex.
Injuries to older people rise
Dr Leach said in more recent times there had been an increase in KSI among people within the 60+ age group, and this could continue to rise with the increase in the elderly population within Wealden, many of whom would be continuing to drive.
Causes of serious crashes in the Wealden area up to the end of July 2016 show a failure to look properly, failure to judge another person’s path or speed, careless, reckless or in a hurry, and loss of control.
Overall, the number of KSI in Wealden has fallen in the last 20 years, in step with national statistics.
Community Speed Watch
Community Speed Watch schemes in the district are to be reinvigorated.
There had been a problem with speed watch volunteers borrowing speed detection devices from Sussex Police.
This problem had been overcome by the Safer Sussex Roads Partnership buying “speed guns”, which has made them more available to groups.
The police has appointed a new officer to liaise with speed watch groups.
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