Driving in the country is always exciting: the twisting, winding country roads make for an exhilarating experience. But the truth is, driving on open roads can be quite dangerous too. The unexpected hazards, blind bends, and sharp bends expose you to a greater risk of accidents.
Drivers, and especially new drivers, think that when they get to country roads it’s time to relax and let their guard down. Well, it’s not. Country roads are even more dangerous to drive on than roads in urban areas. In fact, most road accidents happen on country roads due to the increased number of hazards and speeding. Remaining vigilant while enjoying the scenic drive is important to ensure that you get to your destination safely.
Here are our top tips for driving safely on country roads.
1. Plan your trip. If you are driving in the country, it most likely means that you will be driving for quite a long distance. Long distance journeys have to be carefully planned to ensure the correct safety measures and precautions are taken. When you are planning the route, you should consider the following:
The distance you will travel
The type of road and conditions to expect
The amount of traffic to expect
The location of service stations, towns, motels and other services.
The expected weather
The speed limits.
Also plan your travel time and remember to give yourself rest stops at least every 2 hours. Avoid driving for more than 10 hours a day and make sure you get a good night sleep so that you start the next leg of the journey refreshed. Also avoid driving at night, an early start would be better than driving at night.
2. Prepare your car. Make sure your car is well maintained before the journey. Carry items such as reflectorised triangles, a first aid kit, torch and batteries, a spare wheel and the tools to change a flat, and a tow rope.
3. Know your limits. Speed limits are not meant to be targets. Just because the speed limit is capped at 100km/h doesn’t mean you have to drive at that speed. Just like driving in the city, you need to adjust your speed according to road conditions – and they do change quickly in the country. It is important that you maintain speed at which you can react to unforeseen hazards at a moment’s notice.
4. Stay sharp. Country roads have a lot of hazards. Other than the unexpected bends, country roads could have potholes and other hazards such as wildlife, pedestrians and tractors, it’s crucial that you stay alert at all times to avoid accidents.
5. Be careful when driving in low-light conditions. Turn on your lights if it’s dark, rainy, or foggy. You want to see as far as possible to identify hazards well in advance before it’s too late to make adjustments. Slow down and be watchful of the vehicles ahead of you or at intersections. If you are dazzled by an oncoming driver with their high beam, you should react by slowing down and lowering your gaze to the road ahead. Use the road markings as your guide.
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