THE deaths of five people have prompted an urgent winter warning to pedestrians and drivers in North Yorkshire.

Five pedestrians have been killed in unrelated accidents on the county's roads in the past month - compared with nine in the whole of last year.

Road policing Inspector Chris Charlton said: "Coming up to Christmas it is especially important that pedestrians make every effort to be seen, especially if they have been celebrating.

"A special concern here in North Yorkshire is revellers making their way home along narrow, unlit lanes - they are only giving motorists a split second to see them and react.

"Even in town, pedestrians should wear something reflective if they are out in the dark, and this time of the year country walkers should wear something fluorescent or reflective at any time of day.

"Anyone walking on rural roads should always ensure they are on the correct side of the road - facing oncoming traffic. Don't stray onto the road itself unless you really have to, and remember to listen out for approaching engines and watch for approaching lights."

However, he stressed that the safety of pedestrians is not just the responsibility of the pedestrians.

"Drivers must be especially alert, particularly on ill-lit urban streets and on unlit country lanes. This week it is particularly important to watch out for that late-night reveller making his slightly unsteady way home."