Driving on rural roads can be a very enjoyable experience, as they are usually surrounded by nature and lack the added distractions of traffic and pedestrians. However, there are still challenges when it comes to driving on rural roads. Backroads and rural areas tend to have windy, unpaved roads, and distractions that you don’t generally see while driving in an urban area. This article will go over some of the most common things you need to look out for when driving on rural roads, and provide tips on how you can keep yourself and your passengers safe.
Rural roads are often surrounded by natural habitats where wildlife lives. It’s important to be alert and watch the road for wildlife such as deer, elk, bears, moose, or any other creature that might cross the road unexpectedly. During the times of dawn and dusk, wildlife tends to be more active, so be especially alert at these times. If you do encounter wildlife on the road, be sure not to swerve off the road in an attempt to dodge them in order to prevent more destructive car accidents.
Adjust Your Speed
Unpaved, narrow, winding roads can pose a number of challenges for drivers, especially at high speeds. Be sure to adjust your speed according to the conditions of the road to avoid accidents. If you approach a blind curve, slow down. Additionally, it is a good idea to slow down when you are around farm equipment, other vehicles, and if you find yourself on gravel or uneven road conditions. This will increase your safety while also protecting your vehicle.
Use Your Headlights
Even during daylight hours, turn on your headlights when traveling on rural roads. This makes you more visible to oncoming vehicles, and can also assist you in spotting any potential roadblocks. Debris, animals, and people may appear on rural roads, so you want your visibility to be as clear as possible.
Expect Inclement Weather
Sudden changes in weather conditions should be expected in rural areas. Rain, fog, or snow can appear quickly and seemingly out of nowhere, so it is important to be prepared with the proper equipment such as snow chains, snow tires, and fresh windshield wiper blades. Unpaved roads may become muddy or slippery, be aware of this if you encounter inclement weather. Additionally, keep an emergency kit in your car at all times with food, water, and extra clothing.
It may become tempting to give in to distracted driving when you are on rural roads. However, it is paramount that you avoid distractions at all costs. Especially using a cell-phone to make texts or phone calls, and driving under the influence. Visual distractions such as adjusting the radio or sight-seeing can prove detrimental to your safety.
Take Breaks and Rest Stops
If you’re driving for a long period of time such as a road trip, you should plan ahead to make rest stops in order to avoid fatigued driving, fill up your gas tank, and eat a meal. Making rest stops will help you maintain your focus while driving and give you an opportunity to stretch your legs and rest up.
You can enjoy the natural beauty of rural roads while ensuring the safety of yourself and others by following these precautions. Remember to adjust your speed, plan for unexpected conditions, and stay as alert as possible and you will be in good shape whilst driving in rural areas.