Driving on Country Roads – What You Need to Know


Rural driving presents a few challenges that you won’t encounter when driving in the city. While the environments are more scenic, you will often find that roads are narrower and you need to pay even more attention to your surroundings in order to stay safe.

So what do you need to know when driving on country roads? Here’s a quick rundown of the essentials.

Be Aware of Hazards

Not all country roads are maintained as well as they could be. You’ll also find yourself running into a fair few unexpected hazards. Things like sharp bends and hidden turns are more common, as are crests in the roads and bends immediately after crests. You also need to keep an eye on the plant life lining the road. Poorly maintained hedges and trees can spill over onto the roads and affect your driving. Beyond that, look out for wildlife. Remember that the safety of you and other road users takes priority over any animals that run into the road. Stop safely, if you can, but don’t compromise yourself.

Watch Your Speed

Many country roads allow you to drive at the national speed limit. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you always should. Country roads differ from many other roads in that you have some more leeway in terms of determining how fast you need to go. If the road is open and you can see clearly ahead then accelerate to the limit. However, if you’re on a difficult patch of road it is usually better to stick to 30 or 40mph, especially when visibility is limited.

Overtaking

You will occasionally run into slow moving vehicles on country roads. Tractors, in particular, can get frustrating. The key is always keeping your cool. While you should overtake, you should only do so when it is safe. You need to be able to see the road ahead of you clearly before you attempt the manoeuvre. Always hold back and wait if you don’t have visibility past the tractor or slow moving vehicle.

Vulnerable Road Users

You will generally run into three types of vulnerable road users on country roads – hikers, cyclists, and horse riders. All rely on you to be aware and not cause issues for them. Always slow down when approaching vulnerable road users. Be mindful that most country roads don’t have pavements so there often isn’t anywhere for such road users to escape to when people drive dangerously around them.

Look For Clues

Many country roads offer some clues as to what you can expect. Things like broken fences or skid marks suggest that other drivers have experienced issues with a particular patch of road. An open fence may suggest that a slow moving vehicle is just ahead. Try to pick up on these clues and adjust your driving style accordingly.

Prepare for Closed Junctions

Many rural junctions are closed. This makes it more difficult to really see what you’re turning into. If you’re uncertain at all, bring the car to a full stop. You don’t want to poke the nose of the vehicle out when there’s the potential of a car zooming past at the national speed limit.

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