Drive Safer on Rural Roads
Know how to handle hazards associated with country driving this autumn.
Fall is the season when many head out to look at the foliage or visit the pumpkin patch. Reduce your risk of an accident with these tips for safely navigating rural roads.
Difficult Driving Conditions
Loose gravel, large potholes, soft shoulders and narrow roads and bridges are hazards you might encounter while traveling on a rural road. Know how to handle these conditions:
- Slow down to help maintain control.
- To avoid sliding on loose gravel, brake slowly when turning or coming to a stop.
- If you hit a soft shoulder, avoid jerking the wheel. Instead slowly guide the vehicle back to the center of the road.
- Increase your following distance to three to six seconds—more if your vision is obscured.
- Stay to the far right when driving up a hill or around a curve.
- Always look for approaching vehicles before crossing a one-lane bridge.
Obstacles on the Road
As you venture into the countryside, you’re likely to encounter wildlife and may have to share the road with farm equipment. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Watch for slow vehicles such as tractors, ATVs and heavy machinery.
- Before passing those vehicles, make sure the drivers see you.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife and roaming livestock.
- Do not swerve to miss an animal—you might veer into oncoming traffic or a ditch. Apply your brakes instead.
Poor Driving Choices
While driving on rural roads, Americans are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, talking on a cell phone and eating. Keep an eye out for distracted drivers, and practice safe driving habits, no matter which type of road you travel on.