North Coast 500 – Driving on Country Roads
NorthCoast 500 – Driving on country roads blog
Road trips can be a fun experience, bringing quality time with friends and family. However, they can come with hazards and apprehension for some drivers and riders, especially if they include unfamiliar country roads.
If you’re used to driving in towns and on familiar roads, then you may feel unsure about the unpredictability of new country roads. Sometimes, the quietness of rural roads can lead to drivers and riders having a false sense of security, forgetting that potential dangers and distractions can consist of blind bends, concealed entrances, wildlife, farm machinery, surface water on the road, and variations of speed limits.
So, what’s the best way we can manage country roads? We caught up with our partners IAM Roadsmart to get their top tips for safe driving on country roads.
Be aware of the environment you’re in
Put yourself and the safety of other road users’ first. Think ahead – when travelling in the countryside be prepared for animals such as birds, rabbits, deer that may run in front of you. Different locations will have wildlife native to the area.
If you see a horse or wildlife warning sign, you know that you’re entering an area where they’re present and may have to slow down or even stop to be able to pass through safely. When coming to roads, junctions, corners, or bends, if you can’t see round them, approach slowly and be prepared to stop.
The best thing you can do to keep yourself and the animals safe is to be prepared for the unknown and anticipate potential danger ahead. You should be doing everything in your power to avoid an incident and share the road with the wildlife. A collision with a deer could be catastrophic but swerving at speed in avoidance could potentially be even worse.
Share the road
If you’re travelling to a popular tourist area, expect it to be busy. Do your research on the area first and expect a variety of vehicles. If you plan to travel with a caravan, then research the roads you’ll be driving on before you set off. Ensure they will be wide enough and equipped for caravans, taking into consideration other vehicles will need to pass you with a safe distance.
All road users need to work with each other in a sensible manner to remain safe. With the unknown of unfamiliar roads, ensure you maintain a suitable stopping distance from the vehicle ahead – other people’s driving and riding may not be as good as yours.
Slow speed is just as dangerous as speeding. Both come with associated risks so always travel at a speed that is suitable for the road you’re on. Allow the road to be shared with other users potentially coming in the other direction. If you’re too slow, vehicles behind may feel the need to overtake you, which poses a risk. Conversely, if you’re going too fast then you’re not best equipped to deal with any sudden changes.
If you’re in a car or caravan, be aware motorcyclists might be using these roads for tourist purposes too. Make sure you cooperate with each other and give them enough space to pass your vehicle safely.
If you’re on a motorbike, think about other road users. If you are going to overtake, ask yourself if it’s a safe to do so? Share the roads together with a mutually respectful attitude.
If you plan to stop at tourist attractions or campsites, then always book ahead where you can. Not only does this avoid disappointment, but it will also make your journey smoother and less stressful, allowing you sufficient time to rest before setting off again.
If you plan on sightseeing, then do your research. Find out where the best designated parking areas are for the attraction, don’t just park anywhere. As drivers and riders, we must respect the countryside, don’t make your own parking space. You must not block driveways or park on verges, not only will this ruin the countryside, but it will upset the locals, so be respectful. Be aware, others will be doing the same so pre book where you can, to guarantee your space.
Country roads: IAM RoadSmart On-Road Module
Would you like guidance or an extra confidence when driving on country roads?
IAM RoadSmart’s Country Roads On-Road Module is a one-to-one session with a friendly instructor – perfect to help you improve confidence and keep you and your passengers safe when travelling in the countryside.
By the end of the session, you’ll have learnt new skills, techniques and knowledge to make you a more confident and capable driver, find out more.