Lawyer: Scotland's Roads No Place For Adrenaline Junkies And Thrill Seekers

Expert Issues Warning After Woman Suffers Serious Injuries In Collision


Scotland’s stunning country roads should not be treated as playgrounds for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies this summer, a leading Scottish injury lawyer has warned.

The warning comes after Fife woman Marlene Clarke was left lucky to escape with her life and nursing a number of serious injuries after a head-on collision with a car that had been overtaking other vehicles on a country road.

Elaine Russell, partner and serious injuries expert at Irwin Mitchell Scotland, says the lure of Scotland’s winding and frequently-deserted country roads, and stunning scenery, made them a tempting destination for drivers each summer.

And she has warned it’s not just younger drivers who pose a threat to others on the roads by driving erratically or dangerously – the driver who crashed into Mrs Clarke was an elderly woman.

Mrs Clarke, a registered nurse who works in a care home in Anstruther, was approaching an s-bend on the B9131, approximately a quarter of a mile north of Station Road, in June 2008 when she realised a car which had been overtaking a number of other vehicles was heading straight towards her.

She took evasive action, swerving sharply to the left, but the oncoming vehicle hit the driver’s side of Mrs Clarke’s car, pushing her into the field where she had to be cut from her car by emergency services. 

Mrs Clarke was forced to take an extended period off work, nursing a head injury, a fractured cheek bone, a badly fractured ankle, extensive laceration to her leg and bruises across her body. She was treated at Ninewells Hospital, where she required surgery on her knee and ankle, as well as a procedure to repair her cheek bone.

Mrs Clarke was off work for five months as a result of the crash, and still suffers from a facial disfigurement and permanent ankle injury which is constantly painful.

Elaine Russell, who represents scores of people who have been the victims of other people’s dangerous or careless driving, said: “Mrs Clarke was, in many ways, lucky to escape with the injuries she did.

“Cases such as Mrs Clarke's are sadly all-too-common, and if anything the problem is as bad in the summer as it is in the winter. People are drawn to Scotland’s roads for the breathtaking scenery, but impatience, carelessness and downright recklessness frequently get in the way of common sense and vehicle control.

“We deal with too many cases such as Mrs Clarke's, which also proves people don’t necessarily become more sensible behind the wheel as they grow older.

“A lot of motorists don’t realise that our roads are not a place to escape to and they do not give people the freedom to put their foot down away from the hustle and bustle of town life. They can be incredibly dangerous – blind corners, hedges, muddy and slippery roads, cyclists, horses, and farm vehicles and animals all combine to create a set of hazards that most are not used to dealing with.

“I would strongly urge all drivers, no matter their age, to concentrate, take care, and not to treat our roads like a playground, because other people’s lives are at stake.”

Mrs Clarke said: “It was a horrifying experience and I’m still suffering now. I was luckily able to return to work eventually, and I have made a reasonable recovery, however my painful foot injury is a daily reminder that due to a careless elderly driver I have a permanent disability and I am still under the care of the orthopaedic consultant.

“It makes you realise how much you rely on other drivers to be safe and sensible – and how quickly your life could be taken away in a flash because of other people’s stupidity.”