THE annual Christmas drink-drive messages are well known, but Wigan Council wants to make sure that all road-users - not just drivers - are safe this winter.
Vulnerable pedestrians are coming in for special attention in the seasonal campaign.
“The council takes its responsibilities for road safety very seriously,” said cabinet lead for the environment Coun Kevin Anderson. “And staff are continuing to take that message into our communities.”
During the current Road Safety Week, road safety officers are giving presentations at Woodfield Primary in Wigan Lane, as well as Lowton High and at Wigan and Leigh College where they will be discussing the dangers of drug driving with students.
They are also preparing for the launch of the Christmas drink drive message which will happen in a striking way in Wigan town centre on December 1. Coun Anderson said: “You are invited to a crash! Colleagues in the blue light services will be staging a vehicle crash simulation in the centre of town.
“College students will play the parts of drink drivers and they will be cut from wrecked cars in real time as people look on.
“It’s dramatic, but I hope, brings home the effects of drink-driving to everyone watching.”
The Christmas drink-drive message across Greater Manchester is themed Dicing with Death, and the staged crash will illustrate that vividly.
However, officers are keen to ensure that all road users are safe in the dark winter months.
In 2011 75 people were killed on the roads of Greater Manchester. This was an increase of 42 per cent on the previous year and reversed a long downward trend in road deaths
A particular concern in the region is the number of bikers – motor and pedal – involved in accidents.
There have been 12 fatalities and 44 serious injuries in the last five years where larger vehicles have hit bikes.
Inspe Paul Rowe from GMP’s Roads Policing Unit said: “Visibility is the key factor in many traffic accidents and cyclists and bikers can increase theirs by good road positioning, ensuring they use front and rear lights and wearing high-vis clothing.”
Coun Anderson added that everyone – pedestrians and drivers alike – can ensure they avoid being involved in accidents.
He said: “Be safe and be seen. Dark coats on dark nights aren’t always the best choice – and hoods are great to keep warm, but may restrict visibility and impair your hearing.
“Together, making sensible choices, we can keep the accident rate down and all have a safe Christmas.”