How to Avoid Common Hazards When Driving on Rural Roads
Driving down a rural road can appear deceptively safe, causing you to lower your guard and maybe drive in ways you wouldn’t on a congested urban street or highway. However, they are actually more dangerous than urban roads, and more people die in accidents on these roadways than in urban areas. Fortunately, you can take steps to stay safe when driving on these roads.
Nine Ways to Avoid a Crash on Rural Roadways
Rural areas pose their own dangers for drivers due to different road conditions and hazards. Some of the causes of crashes on rural roads include:
- Gravel. Many rural roads can consist of gravel. When driving on them, you need to slow down because your tires do not have as good traction on gravel as pavement, making it easier to skid or lose control of your steering.
- Dust. During dry seasons, gravel and dirt rural roads can become dusty, causing drivers to experience reduced visibility. Using your low beam headlights can help make your vehicle visible to other drivers.
- Narrow bridges and roadways. Rural roads can be narrow, with little or no shoulder and ditches that are dangerously steep. Drivers should drive more slowly and be prepared to stop—especially on narrow bridges.
- Steep hills and curves. Hills and curves are often steeper and sharper on rural roads than interstate highways. You need to slow down and move to the right side of the road before approaching the crest of a hill or a curve to see other vehicles and navigate around them safely.
- Railroad crossings. Railroad crossings on rural roads are often only marked by round yellow warning signs and do not have the red flashing lights, warning bells, or crossing gates that you could be accustomed to. This means you need to slow down and check in both directions for an oncoming train before proceeding.
- Uncontrolled intersections. Some rural intersections have no stop or yield signs. These intersections can be extremely dangerous unless you slow down and prepare to stop for oncoming vehicles.
- Blind spots. Trees, corn fields, and buildings can create additional blind spots on rural roads, especially when they are near intersections, curves, and hills.
- Large or slow moving vehicles. You are more likely to have to deal with large and slow moving farm equipment, animal-pulled vehicles, and road maintenance vehicles. Keep in mind that they need to make wide turns—often at unmarked intersections. Be certain that they see you and that you have sufficient room before passing them.
- Wild animals. Drivers often encounter wild animals or farm animals on rural roads, especially at sunrise or sunset. Deer accidents are common in October and November. If you see a wild animal, slow down so you can stop if necessary.
Even if you are driving safely on a rural road, you could be seriously injured in an accident caused by a less careful driver. Fill out an online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can assist you in getting the compensation you’re entitled to.