Driving in rural areas: How to stay safe

Driving in rural areas: How to stay safe 23rd October 2014

Driving on rural roads has many pleasurable advantages. For example, roads are often quieter, there are fewer speed limit changes and the scenery can be very attractive. However, they can also present a challenge to drivers, which means great care needs to be taken when driving in rural areas. 

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, up to 70 per cent of road fatalities in the UK occur on rural roads, which shows just how important it is for drivers to ensure they are taking care when out and about. 

We explore some of the top tips for rural driving.

  • Check your tyres. If your tyres are damaged in any way, the uneven, bumpy and often damaged surfaces on rural roads can cause them to burst, which can be dangerous. Check for any cuts and bulges before you head out and book an appointment to have new tyres fitted if they need changing.
  • Speed limits. One of the many plus points of rural driving is that most roads have a speed limit of 60mph, but this doesn't mean you need to drive at this speed. If weather conditions are poor, or if the road is narrow or has many blind corners, don't be afraid to drop your speed to 50 or even 40.
  • Other vehicles. Most drivers will be used to dealing with other road users, but on rural roads you can encounter tractors, cyclists and other slow-moving vehicles far more often. Be sure to keep a safe distance, and only overtake when it is safe to do so – make sure you can see well ahead and that there are no other vehicles coming before you move out. 
  • Animals. Being alert and aware on the road is important no matter where you are, but on rural roads it's even more vital. With all the fields around, it's not highly unusual to see a sheep or other farm favourite wander onto the road. Being prepared for anything will prepare drivers for taking action to avoid accidents. 
  • Driving at night. While your night time urban driving will normally be illuminated by street lights, this wil not be the case in rural areas, and it can get quite dark away from the city. Make sure your lights are working before you head out, and ensure that you only use full beam when no one else is driving towards you to ensure you don't blind other road users. 

Posted by Danielle Barge