5 tips for safer rural driving on country roads

Safer rural driving on country roads is imperative to holiday enjoyment.

With sunny days on the horizon, Britain’s families will be gearing up for more road trips and short getaways. As the UK is home to some of the greatest countryside and coastline with an abundance of activities, now is a good time to go over some useful tips for safer rural driving. Visits to picturesque parts of the country are predicted to skyrocket over the coming months. In fact, according to research by VisitBritain.org, 30% of summer tourism is made up of visits to more rural locations.

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is offering drivers some simple tips for staying safe on rural road journeys.

Statistics show that country roads account for around 60% of all fatalities, meaning that three of the five road accidents on an average day in the UK occur out of town.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth, said: “Some of our most pleasant driving is done on country roads, but there are dangers.

“The turns and twists that make these roads so appealing also have a downside in terms of reduced visibility, and you will pick up few clues as to what’s around the next bend. Could it be another car or a motorcycle coming towards you at speed? Or a group of cyclists on a ride out? A flock of sheep or a herd of cattle crossing the road? A horse and rider? A wild animal? A slow-moving farm tractor?

“Until you have full sight of what’s ahead, you need to be ready to anticipate what could be there,” he continued. “By adjusting your speed and position accordingly, you’re doing your bit to keep yourself and the other road users safe.”

The UK's rural roads are frequently driven on in the summer.

GEM’s 5 simple driver tips to help improve rural road safety

  • Take it slow: Reduce risk by never exceeding the speed limit. Adjust your speed to be sure you can always stop safely in the distance available ahead of you.
  • Make sure you use any existing signage to help you: Usual signs include a series of white chevron signs on a black background, indicating a sharp bend. Use your detective skills, too! Make good use of any clues as to what may be ahead, even if you can’t see anything.
  • Stay alert: The narrowness of country lanes means that passing places are sometimes provided into embankments or verges. Be prepared to reverse into these if necessary.
  • Prepare for all road conditions: Country lanes can often be in a poor state of repair. At any sign of this be ready for potholes and other broken surfaces that can seriously damage your vehicle. Road surfaces may also be slippery, with mud from tractor tyres and even deposits from horses and cows.
  • Be patient: If you come up behind cyclists, pedestrians or horses, keep back until you’re sure it’s safe to pass them. Remember the Highway Code rules, which require you to give plenty of room when passing cyclists (1.5 metres minimum) and horses (2 metres minimum).

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