Statistics reveal that in the UK almost 6 out of every 10 fatalities occur on rural roads. According to the Department for Transport, in the UK in 2015, 10,307 people were seriously injured or killed whilst on rural roads. This basically translates to the death toll on rural roads being 10 times higher that on our motorways.
It is believed that the reason for why more of these accidents seem to take place on rural roads is because drivers meet hazards, which they weren’t expecting, such as oncoming traffic, sharp bends or animals. The ultimate message that’s been sent out is that drivers need to slow down. Although many rural roads state that they are the national speed limit (60mph), it is believed that driving at these speeds can be reckless and it’s not a necessity.
Below are 5 points The Car Buying Group recommend to take into account to ensure safety when driving on rural roads:
- Although you may be familiar with a particular stretch of road, never take anything for granted. Expect the unexpected as you approach the brow of a hill or a bend and be prepared to slow down dramatically or even stop if necessary.
- Make sure that you drive slowly and at a speed which allows you to stop on your side of the road.
- When overtaking, don’t leave anything to chance. Unless you know how you plan to complete a manoeuvre, do not begin it.
- Be sure to read the road signs and markings that are available to you. These are here to ensure that you are prepared for potential hazards ahead. For example, horse manure (particularly if fresh) could suggest there are horse(s) ahead. If you can see mud ahead, then there could be a slow moving tractor on the road.
- Be aware of the condition of the road. Often rural roads are not as well maintained so there is more of a chance of coming across potholes. Potholes can puncture tyres, damage wheels, affect the car’s tracking as well as mechanically damage the car.
- Be on the lookout for animals and allow them plenty of space. You may even need to pull over and switch off your engine if approaching a farm animal or a nervous looking horse.
- If you are driving on a rural road at night, take extra care. Often these types of roads don’t have street lighting and tend to only have cats-eyes.