Driving on country roads
Driving on rural country roads is one of the most challenging aspects of driving, and in those first few years behind the wheel as a new driver, they can be particularly daunting. So whether you drive along country roads all the time, or you’ve yet to tackle them – here are our top tips to keeping you safe and used to driving on winding country roads!
Keep your speed in check
Country roads are narrow, winding and often have poor visibility – this paired with oncoming traffic can be a nightmare. You may find that the speed limits on country roads are higher than you think – often, they’ll be the national speed limit (unless stated otherwise), which is 60mph! Now I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty fast for me, especially if the roads are quite dangerous as they are. Our advice on this is to drive at a speed you’re comfortable with and not aim for the speed limit should you not feel safe or confident doing so.
Knowing what hazards to expect when driving on rural roads is essential in keeping you safe behind the wheel. Not only do you have to deal with hazards as you would on regular roads, but you’re more likely to come across a variety of animals, walkers/hikers, and cyclists. If you see any of those on a city road you’ll likely have enough time to recognise the hazard and act accordingly. Throw in winding, rural roads and this becomes much more difficult – you’ll likely have much less time to react if one of these hazards appears after going around a bend. You may have learned about hazards in your theory test, but knowing how to react to them in real life is essential. Take your time when driving and learn what kind of hazards you may come across.
Country roads are difficult enough, without adding the stress of overtaking. Narrow tracks and blind corners mean generally, country roads aren’t the place to be overtaking. If you do decide to overtake, here are our top tips:
- Make sure you can see well ahead of the car/cyclist/horse rider in front, and that there is no oncoming traffic
- Never attempt to overtake on a corner
- Make sure the car/cyclist/horse in front is not going to turn right
- Make sure there are no cars or other road users joining from a side road
Look out for clues
You need to be vigilant when driving on country roads and should be on the constant lookout for what lies ahead. If you see skid marks on the road or a broken fence, it means there may have recently been an accident there so take your time! Also, keep a lookout for instruction and warning signs on the road – they’ll tell you what else to expect on your journey.
If you’re unfamiliar with country roads, you may want to avoid them – and that’s ok! Instead of popping your destination in the sat nav and heading off straight away, it’s best to look at the different routes to get you where you need to be. That way, it can be parkways and motorways taking you home, instead of those country roads!