Accidents on rural roads are more common than most people think. In fact more fatal accidents occur on rural roads than in urban areas.
The speed of vehicles and the amount of traffic is significantly different from that in urban areas.
Due to the lower traffic flow on rural roads many people think they are safer than they actually are.
The winding and hilly nature of many country roads and the reduced visibility that results reduces the distance that drivers, riders and walkers can see ahead. The higher speeds at which traffic normally travels on these roads gives road users less time to react and results in more severe impacts.
Contrary to popular opinion, driving on rural roads can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than driving on main roads or motorways. More than 50% of all fatalities on UK roads occur in rural areas.
Potential hazards on rural roads
Country roads can have many potential hazards for the unwary driver. Visibility can be a problem because of twists and turns in the road and hedges and trees obscuring a clear view of what is round the corner. Extra care should be taken in country lanes because livestock or farm machinery could be emerging from narrow tracks or field gates.
Another feature of long country roads that often catches out the unwary are sudden dips in the road. This can mean that the road ahead may 'appear' to be clear and safe to overtake a tractor or slow moving vehicle, but the vehicle approaching is just not visible in your line of sight due to the contours of the land.
Drivers not used to rural driving need to take extra care around horses on the road, they can be easily 'spooked' by road vehicles and behave unpredictably. Always allow a lot more time to pass a horse and rider because the manoeuvre has to be done slowly in order to be safe.
Many accidents occur because a driver stuck behind a tractor or other slow moving farm vehicle, gets impatient. Never take risks when overtaking, if you are in a queue of traffic behind a slow vehicle wait for your turn to overtake, and never be tempted to overtake several vehicles at once.
If you have to overtake a slow moving farm vehicle bear these points in mind:
Always 'hang back' from the vehicle in front and check that there is plenty of clear road ahead before attempting to overtake
If the vehicle in front has a trailer or is very long, allow extra time to get past
Towed farm equipment can often be much wider than the average car, so ensure that there is plenty of space for you to pass
Avoid following an overtaking vehicle unless you are absolutely sure you have time to complete the manoeuvre safely
NEVER be tempted to overtake more than one vehicle at a time
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